After reports in the media of former Titans player Ethy Mbhalati on his experiences of racial discrimination we feel it is necessary for us to respond publicly.
Titans Cricket (Pty) Ltd and Northerns Cricket Union prides itself on its successful history and its association with some of cricket’s biggest names. Ethy Mbhalati is one of those players and he served the Union and Franchise well during the 14 years he spent with us.
Recently Mbhalati has come out in the media to speak out on some events of racism and discrimination he faced during his time as a Titans player. 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.
As citizens of South Africa, we understand what we have been through and as a union and franchise we acknowledge that past and where we are currently. With this being said, it is important that we make it clear that we do not tolerate racism and discrimination of any sort at franchise level, provincial, or anywhere within our pipeline.
We have 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.
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.
Let me conclude by saying we continually striving and endeavouring in all aspects and are encouraged by how far we have come. We will continue to strive to be an example and be at the forefront of the battle against discrimination, we will continue to offer our voice and give a platform to those that need to be heard.