Northerns Cricket said on Wednesday that former South Africa ‘A’ and Titans bowler Ethy Mbhalati had never laid a formal complaint about being racially discriminated against and therefore made it difficult for the union to deal with the matter.
Media reports earlier in the week stated that Mbhalati experienced racial discrimination in his 14-year career in Pretoria.
In the statement released by Northern Cricket, the union said it “prides itself on its successful history and its association with some of cricket’s biggest names. Ethy Mbhalati is one of those players”.
“We believe it is important that all players, employees and those associated with the franchise and Union are able to speak about these experiences without fear of being victimised, intimidated, or silenced. This allows us to engage in positive, progressive conversations. We’ve recently come to learn of the experiences of racial discrimination, cultural bias and remuneration bias Mr Mbhalati was faced with.
“There was never a formal complaint laid by Mr Mbhalati and this makes it difficult for us to deal with such a matter. We can also go on record and say Mr Mbhalati was among the top earners at the franchise towards the end of his career. The history of South Africa is a very dark one and we are well aware that remnants of our past live on 26 years later. It is clear that in our society people still battle with the difficulties from pre-1994 and some of these difficulties are experienced even within the game we love,” said board president Tebogo Siko.
Siko added that the union had “never had any complaints of racism in the past or in the present. Players and staff are aware of the processes they need to go through to lay a complaint. Our board has a transformation and ethics committee, which is responsible for dealing with such matters should they arise”.
Siko concluded by stating that the union and the board stood firm in their transformation goals and to promote diversity in the game.
“The structure through the committee was set up to ensure that we have a progressive transition as we diversify and address any cricket related inequalities within the franchise, promote diversity as we continuously drive awareness. We stand firm on our transformation values, that we are stronger together. Upon reflection of our franchise team it is evident that we have made great strides and we are happy with the representation of the players and technical team. We also pride ourselves on the transformation we have seen in the staff at NCU and significant positions being held by black and female employees,” he said.