Friday, 23 January 2015

Attacks on foreigners – Why? What are the solutions?

What we’ve witnessed in Soweto this week has been described in many ways – xenophobia, afrophobia, criminality, racism or looting that’s purely coincidental. It has also been attributed to various reasons – drugs (nyaope), greed, jealousy, diminishing moral values in our society, colonialism and apartheid, as well as economy-related problems such as housing and jobs. Each and every single one of these factors is relevant.

In part xenophobia is described as “prejudice against, or a dislike of, foreigners”. In 2008 those who died included some locals wrongly identified as Mozambicans for example. In the attacks this week, some of those who were affected were locals, and the properties the foreigners informally traded from are mostly owned by locals. So while locals were victims of direct actions, the fact that these attacks were intended and directed towards foreigners rather, ultimately means xenophobia is at play. Looters have been careful to spare locals where possible.

“Blacks are kwerekweres, Whites are tourists”. That’s been the narrow perspective among some perspectives, hence the regular reference to “afrophobia”. Surely when those affected include Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Indians, it’s rather simplistic to reduce it to afrophobia. Particularly when Ethiopian and Somali traders are by and large the only affected African group, while Nigerians, Zimbabweans, Mozambicans, and other smaller African representations, are pretty much unaffected from their locations in the CDB and parts of Johannesburg South (Rosettenville, Regents Park, Turffontein, Alberton etc). Viewed in isolation there can be justification in terming the whole episode as such.

Those acts were acts of violence, trespassing and theft. Laws were broken, which amounts to lawlessness – which in turn invites police and legal action. So yes it’s accurate to say it was criminality. People died, got hurt and vengeance was meted out, but opportunists also took advantage of the situation - something that spread to areas very far from the scene of the original crime. That does not necessarily mean it’s racist or xenophobic. There was looting in Ferguson, USA, among those protesting the murder of Michael Brown by a White cop. In Paris, France, protestors against Israel’s deadly actions in Gaza looted shops. While here in Africa some protestors acting in solidarity with the Muslims rightly insulted by Charlie Hebdo’s “style of journalism”, looted shops in Niamey, Niger, and burnt churches. Greed, criminality and coincidence were at play.

Regarding where it all started in Snake Park, Soweto, the police reported that this was sparked by a group of 15 young boys who organised themselves and went raiding foreign owned spaza shops forcibly stealing items like airtime. The foreign shop owners who had already been hit, alerted other shop owners to be armed and ready for these boys. The resulting stand-off led to the death of this boy and countless others injured badly. Typical case of aggression versus resistance or self-defence! Except of course that resistance by the foreigners was aided by illegal firearms. A clear sign that some foreigners have become overly “comfortable” away from their home. Enough to more than irk any discontent struggling South African.

It is said these boys were high on the popular Tanzanian drug called nyaope* (aka whoonga/wunga). Foreigners introduced - and maintain - drug trade in South Africa! That the casualty was a mere 14 years old, points to deeper problems, and from where I’m standing, those are of an economic nature. Already, the future of this country is fed up at such a young age, so there will be no end in sight unless it’s addressed swiftly. This requires effective and long-lasting solutions.

True, we inherited the toxic legacy of close to 400 years of colonialism and apartheid, which was not resolved over the past 20 years of our democracy, nor will it be overcome at any point over the next 200 years. Only alleviated. However, those problems of an economic nature stem from how the presiding government has gone about confronting these challenges from 1994.

From 1991 foreigners from all over the world, not just Africa, sensed an opportunity with the end of Apartheid, and relocated to South Africa to enrich themselves. While non-blacks were generally away from African settlements and locations, it was an unusual experience for the Black South African, long restricted by evil Apartheid and its vestiges, to witness the enterprise and entrepreneurship of his fellow Black African bother (and sister)  - albeit at an informal level. Over the years this influx grew, with our neighbours having earned independence 20+ years before South Africa and blessed with an army of qualified professionals who came to compete with an under-developed populace for jobs – menial, middle class and management; or used the wealth they had saved or accumulated in their home countries to simply set up here and live comfortably. This is coupled by multiple times more who cunningly migrate here and are merely an aimless burden on public services and limited resources.

Some have attributed these attacks to lazy, jealous bored louts. Again this is simplistic because residents of all demographics (and political affiliations) within those aggrieved communities performed these illegal acts on them. Not just the youth. Those people would never have had a reason to be “jealous” had the government put in place mechanisms to slow or control the filtering through of foreigners to take up opportunities which should rightly have been opened up to locals only, for a limited period initially. At the very least these last 20 years should have been designed for that.

We are aware that other African states, who were long independent at the time, extended goodwill to host our exiled brothers and sisters and militants working towards our liberation - of which some in my own family can attest, but it must also be said that some of our neighbours, comprising the three of the four major African migrants in South Africa, never extended that hospitality and contributed minimally to our cause. Therefore South Africa cannot be held to ransom as if to say they are now obliged to recompense, much to the detriment of the already strained social balance in this country.

It’s far too late to invest in closing the borders now, as we can see that other well resourced countries have failed via that route. Better opportunity-costs exist for that investment. All over the world governments are grappling with problems from migrants. The USA is faced with migrants from Mexico, Central America and South America. The UK is also struggling with migrants from the rest of Europe. Australia and New Zealand have to deal with migrants from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India. We are aware of France’s long standing problem with North and West African migrants. In either case, it’s not just migrants from those territories mentioned, but from all over the world too.

All of these countries are employing and proposing stricter measures far much more excessive than what I suggest below. Smarter and more effective solutions, where foreigners finance the costs of their own existence here, are required. The following is what I propose because at the root of it all, economy-related problems are the cause.

1.      Heavy Taxation – A minimum tax rate of 60% PAYE must be applied on all foreign employees. It will be distributed in this way.
·         For African foreigners – 40% to SARS for normal application; 10% towards the administration of this collection and other regulation set out below (that will be run and staffed strictly by South Africans); and 10% repatriated to their home country. This money repatriated to their home countries will I presume appease those governments who feel that their human resources - which they skilled - “stolen”. It also serves to appease those who feel something is due to them for their assistance during apartheid. Furthermore, it encourages foreigners to play a role in their home countries, or “vote wisely” as some would say.
·         For non-African foreigners - 50% to SARS for normal application, 10% towards the administration of this collection and other regulation set out below (that will be run and staffed strictly by South Africans). They cannot receive the same treatment as out African brothers, not to mention their superior economies.
·         South Africans would no doubt be appeased by the availability of more revenue for social support, courtesy of foreigners. In which case they would not be quick to revolt. That ire can only be directed towards the government managing or mismanaging this.

2.      Employer Levies - All non-state employers are to pay a R12,000.00 levy in order to employ a foreigner for 12 months in whatever capacity; in line with the critical skills requirements as set out by law. A minimum R24,000.00 penalty to be levied on the employer for non-compliance. This is per employee.

3.      Informal Trader’s Levies – A minimum of R12,000.00 must be paid to trade informally for 12 months. Essentially this amounts to a Visa fee. After all, if you’re not employed and not on a limited holiday visa, it’s obvious that you’re self-employed and that privilege must come at a cost.

4.      Compulsory Employment of Locals – Any informal traders are obligated to employ locals if they need employees.

5.      Compulsory use of Public Services paid for in Cash – Foreigners by and large use public clinics and hospitals. This should be made compulsory for all of them and charged cash.

6.      Permanent Residence and Permits:
·         Finalised outside of South Africa - In all cases above it should be compulsory for foreigners to renew and pay for their permits outside the country (as DHA have in part attempted to do).
·         Work Permits - Their prospective employers should have paid the R12,000.00 Foreign Employee Levy (refundable within 30 days if the employee is no longer available), in order for their Work Permit to be approved.
·         Permanent Residency – Only possible after 12 years.

7.      ChildrenUsing clinic/hospital issued birth cards, within the first year children born to a foreign male are to receive a birth-certificate/Pre-ID, and Passport from the father’s home country or embassy within South Africa, before they can continue in the country or have access to public services. No South African birth certificates are to be issued to them. (Even if they are born by South African women, you will notice that Nigerian men always take their children back home to be raised by their mothers in Nigeria. They consider South Africa to be too damaged to raise children in. Regardless of the reason they know they belong in Nigeria and all intend to return there. The problem is other nationals whose primary intention is to relocate permanently.)

8.      Public Health Professionals – They are not allowed to practice privately and can only work for state-owned health institutions.

9.      Lindela & illegals – The finance to pay for the administration of these detention and repatriation centres will at least now be the responsibility of the 10% tax portion for administration. This way legal challenges, plus those serial offenders who are stubborn, will be constantly sent back or challenged at their countrymen’s expense. Naturally, any shortfalls will be covered by the 10% intended for the home country.

10.  Foreign Affairs Department – This shall be the responsibility of the Foreign Affairs department. For once it will have something to do, as opposed to pretending we have any meaningful Foreign Policy to dedicate a portfolio … as do most countries that are globally insignificant or irrelevant.

It’s inevitable that governments will be caught in a situation where they have to defend foreigners from the very citizens the Police represent. In a country as volatile as ours, due to various historical and current issues, that police action – however legal - can easily be misconstrued as betrayal. That kind of betrayal can breed distrust of the state and ultimately widespread revolts against it. Police action in Marikana acting in “defence of foreign capital” proved as much.

Where a government can prove to its citizens that foreigners have paid their due to live and trade in South Africa at any given time, it makes it difficult for any citizen to criticise any stringent action by the government. That is what is absent right now, and that is what must be attended to as a matter of urgency.

NB: *Depending on who you speak to nyaope (aka Wunga/Whoonga) is made using various ingredients including heroin (created in UK), cocaine (crated in Germany) and methamphetamine (amphetamine created in Germany, then later methamphetamine  was developed in Japan), as well as rat poison and dagga. As we all know, the only reason why the Americans are in Afghanistan is not because the Taliban poses a threat. It’s because of opium, which makes heroin. Watch the true story rendition in the movie American Gangster for further insight.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Truth and facts don't suddenly become hate speech simply because one wills them to be so

The FF+ recently laid a charge of hate speech on President Jacob Zuma with the with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), on this basis of him having said the following “Van Riebeeck’s arrival was the beginning of all the trouble… the numerous struggles, wars and deaths…the grabbing of land and the denial of indigenous people’s political and economic power” during a speech he gave at the ANC’s 103rd birthday celebration. According to them "Zuma's words construed whites, coloureds and Indians as non-indigenous, creating a dispensation where they are regarded as second-rate citizens, as colonists."

Why does the FF+ (and Afriforum along with like-minded bodies) like "tagging" other races in order to underhandedly and wrongly add weight to their argument, aggrieving other races plus dragging them into arguments which don't directly affect them? Unless of course the subject, Jan van Riebee, was Indian/Coloured - which is highly unlikely.

It is and shall forever be true and accurate that they are not indigenous, and Whites are indeed colonists, but that does not necessarily mean they, together with Coloureds and Indians, are second rate citizens. Whites in North America (USA&Canada) and Oceania (NZ&AUS mainly) are not indigenous there too, and they are colonists however many generations deep. You cannot erase one's legacy or true identity, only hide it (i.e. not showing race in application forms, deeds office or IDs, etc for selfish reasons under the guise of nation building), but it's there.

However in all those areas - North America, Oceania and Africa, the White man is anything but second rate. He is far superior to the Aborigine, American and African, economically and many other ways. In fact, the White man in those lands (particularly the one in Africa) enjoys a status, privilege and self-worth far higher than that of his European brothers and sisters, by virtue of the still largely subservient native's historically affected psychology.

What about coloureds? In our culture in Africa, which I'm certain is the same for other natives, paternity dictates what you are. European influence, Civil law, modernisation along with other encroaching social dynamics may all attempt to change it, but our beliefs and stand on this are everlasting.

We say “Intonga entle igawulwa ezizweni”, so the product of that union doesn’t cease to be African or belong to different race other than his/her father simply because one married a White/Indian woman, not African, and the skin colour of the offsppring might be different as a result. If you're Xhosa and you marry a Venda, the child is Xhosa; and if you're a Massai and you marry an Algerian Arab, the child is Massai. It follows therefore that if you're Xhosa/Massai and you marry a White/Indian woman, the child is African (Xhosa/Massai respectively) not Coloured. Just as we don’t have cousins in our culture (children of two brothers are brothers&sisters not cousins), we have no classification of Coloured among African children, only Africans, except unique in pigmentation.

Sadly due to the "balance" of colonisation, Apartheid and the slave trade, we all know who was banging who - and it was almost never the other way - so those Coloureds are not Coloured, they are European, descendants of Whites. Unfortunately the White man never accepted the Coloured as his child and rightly assimilated him/her into his race and culture where he belongs. He rejected him and created a race for him – the Coloured or Mixed Race. Just as Trevor Noah's father I presume, doesn't take him to be German/European like himself. He has given him up to his mother's race and culture – Xhosa, albeit wondering if he was an Albino while growing up.

Granted some of the younger coloureds are of African blood, due to coloureds marrying Africans, not just fellow coloureds, as the years went by, so they are rightly African. However due to their rejection by White fathers and their families, as well as concealed documentation of one's lineage in order to make an easy distinction, we have ultimately accepted ALL of them (Coloureds/Mixed Race) as Africans, refer to them as such, and should like to think and hope they consider themselves such despite the fears sown in the Western Cape majority by the Demonic Alliance for political gain.

Indians on the other hand are just like Europeans/Whites (not to mention both their embarrassing inability to converse in African languages while claiming to be African 'by virtue of being here for hundreds of years'). The difference lies in how and why they came here. The latter as pillagers and masters, the former as slaves.

They played a role not just in South Africa, but in parts of Central Africa too. Most of the Indians in Central Africa were migrated to England in organised fashion and resettled even better there than here due to "pressing" circumstances in that region at the time, while the Indians in South Africa had no chance of that assisted relocation as late as 1994, neither was it necessary as this was their home too. However, the role they played does entitle them some benefits normally due to Africans alone, even though that hand has been overly extended by certain complicit policymakers we blindly voted into power.

Nonetheless they remain Indian, Asians. They cannot and will never be indigenous. They are fully aware of that themselves, and merely refer to themselves as Indigenous/African purely for the economic benefits it avails, "security" to ward of non-existent fears of what they might lose by fittingly referring to themselves according to their heritage. No doubt Gandhi himself is turning in his grave at the prospect of his fellowman referring to himself or being referred to as an African, the very African he thought little of and considered highly inferior to his people.

His descendants - the likes of Vivian Reddy, the Shaiks, Dr Iqbal Surve and other ordinary people of that race - might not say it outright but they certainly share his feelings. The Times Live article "Fans haul soapie actors over coals for TV adultery” - proves as much. So hospitable we have been to their descendants that even their brothers the likes of the Guptas have abandoned their richer abode India and decided to follow them here to the Dark Continent, albeit not in slave boats this time, and for that they've been richly rewarded.

Yes, truth and facts don't suddenly become hate speech simply because one wills them to be so.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Proteas First XI selection shaped by racism

Most Black South African cricket fans such as myself, are greatly concerned by the developments within the national team.

Going into the second Test against Australia, Quinton de Kock was selected when it was clear that Alviro Petersen wouldn’t recover in time. I have no qualms against the young man himself as he is a fine future prospect for the Proteas, but what is unsettling is that this came at Thami Tsolekile's expense.

Alviro is an opener but they went with Elgar in that role (understandable since he’s been a top order batsman most of his career), which meant Alviro's direct replacement de Kock batted instead at number six. The South African think-tank (Hudson, Domingo and Smith) must imagine that we are fools and could not see precisely  what was happening. They reasoned that by merely retaining AB de Villiers as keeper, we would not be able to see that Thami had once again been snubbed in a calculated move. After all, it’s not as if de Kock had performed better than Thami in their First Class match together before this Test, which pitted the Lions against the Cape Cobras in the Sunfoil Series Domestic Competition.

Cricket in South Africa will continue to be a sport that the majority frown upon due to these racist tendencies. Quinton de Kock is an opener. If it was a middle order batsman they wanted, why then did they not call up Temba Bavuma who is in red hot form in the Sunfoil Series for the Lions Franchise? Particularly considering that Thami was dropped from the central contracts list, then overlooked for the Test XI as well, therefore Bavuma as an outside selection on merit (just as de Kock wasn’t part of the original squad as well) would have been a principled move that satisfied the transformation objective, which supposedly a priority.

The pitch had in my view been deliberately prepared a flat surface, cowardly done to negate the threat of the unplayable Australian seamers, in particular Mitchell Johnson who had knocked the stuffing out of them. Of course Australian Michael Clarke’s humility through exaggerated praise of our attack in his comments – all designed to mask his own prolonged poor form, combined with the dramatic transformation of the pitch which yielded a totally unexpected outcome for all-comers- may argue otherwise, but the reality is there was a hint of foreknowledge that whatever Tsolekile’s (or any new batsman’s) deficiencies might have been, he would have had less difficulty in overcoming them in these conditions had he played. Proof of which he displayed in similar conditions, against a quality Australia A attack in July last year.  The selection of de Kock ahead of him, or Bavuma as my alternative suggestion, was thus unwarranted. That’s the background.

We have quietly observed all of this this, but it cannot be allowed to persist further. Lonwabo Tsotsobe has for a long time been our best new ball bowler in Limited Overs Internationals, (i.e. ODIs&T20s) to the point that he was ranked as the best bowler in the world for a decent amount of time. He may have had a difficult start to his Test career in what were challenging pitches for all our seamers years back, but he really should have got another Test cap on merit in the last 3 years. Instead he was inexplicably dropped when the Proteas toured Australia late in 2012. In any other Test playing nation, a bowler of Tsotsobe’s quality would have played again by now.

By contrast Morne Morkel has generally been a poor bowler for the Proteas in the last few seasons but his place in the team has never been in question. His successes with the ball have been isolated and very limited. Yet to compensate for his abject returns, the majority of local sports media as if by collusion, perpetuate the myth that his style is the perfect foil for Steyn & Philander, somehow softening the wickets for them to reap, and therefore effective in that sense. Reality dictates however, that he should have been deservedly dropped more than a few times, and carried drinks more often over this period.

Likewise the Proteas were comfortable with Mark Boucher as keeper, but suddenly upon his retirement AB de Villiers was chosen as keeper despite Tsolekile’s presence in the squad – the first sign that Blacks in the team are invariably either selected or contracted by CSA to carry drinks.

Why didn't Gary Kirsten drop Boucher long before then and excluded him from the touring squad if he felt that AB gave them an option to play an extra batsman? Why did that consideration only become an eventuality when Tsolekile was due to be included in the XI when the sole purpose for which he travelled arose – to serve as a reserve in case something happens to Boucher? I strongly doubt they would have overlooked any of Dane Vilas, Morne van Wyk, Heino Kuhn or Dave Jacobs if they were part of that squad as reserve keeper, purely because they are White. All the more reason why it’s not surprising that de Kock got the nod even though we all knew he would struggle in that Test, and did.

AB de Villiers had expressed a lack of desire in the role permanently, but then he made an about-turn and was suddenly keen on it again. Thami, who was promised to play as keeper after that when New Zealand toured in January 2013, was then shamelessly betrayed by the shameless Andrew Hudson, and de Villiers continued to keep. His wish granted without a fuss! Just as they did when he constantly flip-flopped between keeping and not keeping, all through his substandard captaincy which severely affected the performance and results of the destabilised Limited Overs teams! How, like the spoilt son of noble parentage who gets whatever he wants whenever he wants it, he was ever given that right to being with is beyond belief. Promises to Thami should have been honoured unfailingly. Understandably Thami no longer trusts CSA and Hudson.

It's worth noting that Mark Boucher himself was a very average batsman throughout his career, and unbearably poor in his last few seasons, yet Smith and the selectors were quite happy to let him continue in the side unchallenged. One starts to think that this was a carefully planned and executed agenda, perhaps designed to keep Thami out, while preparing for another top White keeper-batsman to occupy the fixed role. When their hands were forced prematurely by Boucher’s strange injury and subsequent retirement, they turned to AB de Villiers, notwithstanding concerns about his frail back and the potential effect on his batting, which did suffer negatively for some time after that.

During Boucher’s last years with the side Thami Tsolekile had been averaging over 45 in FC Franchise cricket, despite the disadvantage of having returned from a break away from the game, so his inclusion on merit would never have been in question. Then, Ray Jennings (former national coach) said he should be selected, and that he was inarguably the best wicketkeeper in the country, a fact I strongly concur with.

A few days ago Daryll Cullinan, a former accomplished national team batsmen, also said Thami should play as keeper for the rest of the current series, while AB de Villiers should move up the order as he is a top batsman whose talents are better utilised where it is hardest to bat, and the void left by Jacques Kallis demands it not Faf du Plessis. My opinion on AB de Villiers’ habit of hiding lower down the order than where he should be batting, in pretty all formats is well known. As an member of the team who gets whatever he wants there was never any chance of anyone instructing him against his preference.

Jennings and Cullinan are only entitled to suggest, as they are neither selectors nor have positions of influence at CSA, like most of us, but they are respected cricket former cricketers at the highest levels, unlike most of us. Why is it then that Hudson and Graeme Smith continue to unashamedly disagree through their actions and decision-making when there are no clear arguments to back up their case? It lends further credence to my argument that (unlike their peers with no active involvement in the team) since Thami is Black and they wouldn't want a Black man occupying the wicketkeeper's position which renders him basically part of the furniture, since wicketkeepers are hardly dropped. Further to that, based on Boucher's poor batting record and contrariwise the patience he was shown, it would be even harder to justify dropping Thami - a vastly superior man behind the stumps - who was sure to meet the modest standards set by Boucher with the bat.

In 2013 some national sides' A teams (India and Australia) toured South Africa, as well as the usual tour matches for full national sides when they tour (Pakistan). Ayabulela Gqamane who was easily among the best 3 FC seamers at the time was regularly overlooked for a spot in the FC XI and relegated to appearing in the short formats alone. The tour game against Pakistan was particularly painful as Gqamane was left out of the starting XI for no apparent reason. It can be argued that such actions demoralised him and today this affects his performances and future prospects in the game as a result.

Surely if Black players are not being accommodated even in FC national 2nd XIs, it’s no wonder they stand no chance when it comes to international chances. Not because they lack quality and ability. Only the requisite skin colour certain teammates are comfortable around in the changing rooms.

Other cases of blatant favouritism (equally read racism) are there for all to see. When Jacques Rudolph was clearly struggling as an opener, he was demoted to the middle order by way of reprieve, before he was dropped for the umpteenth time for failing even there. The question is, are we going to see the same kind treatment for Alviro Petersen, perhaps with him also being allowed a second chance in the middle order? The same kindness extended to Rudolph affected Ashwell Prince - a career middle order batsman - who was forced to open so Rudolph could be accommodated in his position. Surely AB de Villiers likewise being forced to open, with Alviro batting at number would be a sign of consistency in the treatment of players would it not? But will it happen?

Along with that you are well aware that Quinton de Kock batted for 14 international innings without a single score above 40, and averaged an embarrassing 20 in that time. He came right in the end, but that example must surely serve as a reference point in the handling of all future players. Will we see the same type of patience being extended to Black batsmen in future? Evidence suggests not. Thami only got 5 innings, his last one being close to 10 years ago. Nothing since! Yet he has done everything required in order to be rewarded accordingly. His cries falling on either deaf or prejudiced ears.

Makhaya Ntini our legendary fast bowler said this outright. "Thami Tsolekile would have been selected to play by now if he was White." He went on to say that as a Black in the team he "felt he was never respected or treated as a senior player" and that despite his wealth of experience and successful years in the team he always felt that “when a new bowler came into the team, the impression was he was here to replace me.”

Shaun Pollock was carried by the team on his way to reaching the milestone of 400 wickets when he was visibly past his best. Makhaya Ntini was way past his best as well, but why was he also not similarly carried over that milestone? Most have argued “unlike Ntini, Polly could bat a bit”, but we all know they would’ve considered converting him into slow left-arm orthodox just to get him over the mark if that’s what it took. Sadly, history will reveal that Makhaya was forced to end on 390 wickets, within touching distance of that target which they must have believed did not befit him. Which is funny considering that a similar aged, but much inferior in class, Andre Nel was just over 12 months before Ntini’s last Test, deemed deserving and young enough for an SOS call up during a tour of England, while the likes of younger Mondi Zondeki, Victor Mpitsang and Lonwabo Tsotsobe banging on the door and had current FC stats to back them up.

Did we really have to “import” a foreign spinner Imran Tahir, and wait so long, as well as go through great lengths to secure his services, while we had the likes of Aaron Phangiso and Eddie Leie within our ranks? Why weren’t these energies exerted on them instead? They could have been selected and given time to improve in top level matches over that time. None of our spinners, including the much sought after toothless embarrassment Tahir, displayed anything to prove that they were indeed superior to what Phangiso and Leie could have given us – holding or attacking. How much worse could they have been I ask?

No matter how long it took and how many setbacks they had as a result, Australia were never afraid to try their own as spinners, and Fawad Alam the import is a last resort that seemingly won’t be required with Nathan Lyon, the result of their patient efforts, proving to be a young success as well as being an inspiration to a long line of potentially world class young spinners who will be challenging him soon.

The same problems affect our national rugby team. The coach would rather play a scrumhalf Francois Hougaard out of position at wing instead of Lwazi Mvovo - among the best wingers in world rugby at the time. Similar to the Tahir case, efforts were made to retain Tendai Mtawarira while we have several quality props. Flank Siya Kolisi will not be given a consistent run for the Springboks, but we’ve seen countless players inferior or comparable to him get more chances to play for the Boks and regularly start matches, something that can only be a pipedream for him. A reproduction of the story of Chiliboy Ralepelle. Meanwhile a 36 year old Victor Matfield - like a string of other retirees who returned and easily got the nod ahead of these Black rugby players toiling in the sidelines of the national team - has been welcomed by their former club the Bulls, and soon the Boks.

Chiliboy close to 10 years his junior was used regularly as a political pawn by Heyneke Meyer and those before him. Having belatedly got the message, he quit the Bulls and the Springboks and now turned to France where at 27 he has age behind his to build a career away from this racist setup. Even after a stellar Super Rgby season his national contract was cut in favour of an inactive player who had been injured for a period of close to a year. Such is the kind of madness which prevails in South African cricket and rugby.

For a long time Morne Steyn was horrible, yet they persisted with him until he was back in form, but not before a series of multiple damaging displays affecting the team's fortunes had passed. All the while we had a quality replacement in Elton Jantjies at the top of his game, but for reasons best known Heyneke Meyer alone he was ignored. Certainly not even the coloured community is spared.

I would not be surprised to see the magnificent Vernon Philander being dropped before Morkel (nor would it surprise me to see de Kock being retained ahead of Alviro). Bear in mind that even the magnificent Philander had to toil many seasons as the top FC seamer in the country before getting selected for the Test team. Once he was selected there was an outcry from that notorious section of fans who dominate various online news sites and dedicated forums. He has since shut them up through his record-breaking performances, but the likes of Kyle Abbott and Marchant de Lange didn’t have to break much sweat in comparison to gain selection, and the same will probably apply to the likes of Beuran Hendricks. Evidently the turnaround time from form to national appearance is much shorter for White players in comparison to non-Whites irrespective of the performances.

Former cricketer, explosive batsman and top fielder Herschelle Gibbs in his book “To the Point”, pointed to the presence of a mafia or clique within the team comprising of Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher and AB de Villiers, and that they had a huge influence, strong enough to undermine even the coaches and selectors' decisions. Which explains why underperforming White players (Smith, Boucher, Morne Morkel etc) were/are never really dropped, but we do hear persistent noises (even from likeminded fans who raise an outcry at every Black name mentioned for international selection) questioning the continued presence of the likes of Robin Peterson, JP Duminy, Alviro Petersen and Lonwabo Tsotsobe, every time they underperform.

That mafia must be viewed as responsible for resisting the progress of Blacks in the team and consciously working against the transformation of the cricket team instead of having the hero status bestowed upon them by the circumstantially ignorant, and those well informed albeit in denial (certainly that’s how they fare in my index and I’m entitled to that right as you do too).

Gibbs is a mature man who played all over the world interacting with fellow professionals during his over 14 year association with the national team, so his first-hand accounts, particularly mirroring those of Ntini, cannot be taken lightly despite his former indiscretions common among most sportspeople and probably a number in the current Proteas squad.

Via strong widely reported rumours, it is said that Smith threatened to resign ahead of the India tour last year in December, if the selectors went ahead and selected Thami Tsolekile as keeper, and Faf du Plessis was dropped for him. Generally du Plessis was in poor form and had not scored a half-century in 8 innings. I’m sure the Sports Minister is well aware of those rumours because reports say he commented that if the rumours were true then that was regrettable, but CSA denied all of this and apparently the Minister accepted the explanation. However, what cannot be denied is that there is no smoke without fire.

Fans throughout the world laugh at the division of the side, which is easy to see in how they interact with each other as was the case during their tour of Australia in late 2012. It’s no wonder because harmony can never be cultivated under such an environment and the toxic leadership of Captain Graeme Smith. Those in charge couldn’t be bothered with fostering a united front, and would much rather let it grow as evidence by Gary Kirsten going away from it to visit his family in the middle of a job, as opposed to rectifying such things as a priority. But of course he himself is probably a former core member of that mafia so that should be expected.

For years Cricket South Africa had, as transformation boss, a former scientist of the Apartheid regime who developed biological weapons which were explicitly designed to wipe out Blacks – Mr Willie Basson. Unsurprisingly like most scientists involved in such vile projects for their respective countries’ science teams, he claims he was used and had no idea the intentions his efforts were malicious. Indeed a section of our naturalised brothers do tend to suffer from the consistent affliction of denial and cowardice when it comes to acknowledging who they are and what they are about, something seen by contrasting the examples of cricket’s Basson and Pakistan’s Abdul Qadeer Khan (Weapons Programs), as well as FW de Klerk and JM Coetzee (being an African).

Nonetheless is it not surprising therefore that in 22 years as a continuous Test playing nation of a population of over 40+ million Blacks, we have no single Black player in the Test XI right now or in the recent past?

I am an African, lover of Africans and our sportspeople in Africa, and I strongly advocate for their participation at the highest levels. Blacks are Africa’s identity. Their systematic marginalisation and exclusion in their own backyard is something that I, as a Black man, am totally disgusted with, and it must be put to an end as a matter of urgency.

Recently Zimbabwean cricket dominated the Pakistan Test team over 2 matches, famously winning the second one. That victory along with many others they’ve had along the way, are signs that their policies have been vindicated. Apart from White youngsters who abuse and frustrate the system as a stepping stone to playing cricket in English, Australian, New Zealand cricket leagues; they have been a riveting success for the nation’s Black cricket community. Economic and financial challenges may frustrate things and cause friction between administrators and players, but the fact remains - tangible progress is discernible and the foundation for even more success stands resolute.

The laughable quotas introduced by Cricket South Africa of 1 or 2 Blacks in a Franchise XI team while we should be speaking of 5 or more at this eleventh hour, are signs that there are elements of spinelessness among those taking the lead in sports in our country.

This is further evidenced by CSA being bullied, treated as a second class citizen and powerless Full Member, when it has the numbers within the population, who can consume the sport and make it profitable and relatively self-sufficient like the Australians have done.

CSA (practically still the exclusive UCB which transformed only in name as did the NP into the DA) is reaping the rewards for ignoring that constituency of Black cricket followers which promise huge potential. It is virtually untapped, simply because they have consistently and effectively killed the growth of that constituency's current and future heroes who are crucial to many Black people being attracted and remaining interested in the game, which will boost the coffers in multiple ways.

Mr Fikile Mbabula as our Sports Minister you must press forward, as did your Zimbabwean counterparts, and lead the spread of the game forcefully and radically. Recently you lashed out at the Bafana Bafana players for their underwhelming performances without mincing your words the least bit. That kind of energy is what we expect. Except of course we have not heard that same kind of ire directed at those figure in charge of Cricket and Rugby who are working against our people. That kind of selective action is a symptom of the notoriously one-eyed approach of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela by the way. This cannot continue under your watch, and should never have been tolerated to begin with.

I urge you to use the Thami Tsolekile saga, long unfolding before us, as a catalyst for action. A statement demanding the explanations of the selectors, captain and others involved is the minimum expectation, with heads rolling as a consequence. When Makhaya Ntini uttered his sentiments, he said he felt “those things needed to be said”. What he neglected to add was that “those are things we need the Minister to act on”. I trust that he didn’t have to say that to make you realise your duty to rectify this.

Your tenure so far hasn’t yielded the kind of dividends which your much older predecessors, comrades Ngconde Balfour and Makhenkesi Stofile, laid the foundation for. As a younger leader, much more would’ve been expected of you, with an upward projection into the future which your youth in comparison allowed, but absolutely nothing can be singled out as standout achievement by yourself in terms of transformation in these two sports. The success of these disciplines in the field of play does not remove the responsibility to advance greater participation regardless of the shortcomings in the interim.

Who doesn’t know Baby Jake Matlala, Makhaya Ntini or Caster Semenya? Of what benefit is it for Jacques Kallis - a man who over a career spanning 18 years at the highest level established himself as the greatest allrounder and among the best ever batsmen - if tens of millions of South Africans have no idea and couldn’t be bothered who he is just a few months after his triumphant retirement from Tests? He is proportionally no more popular than a new janitor at Vatican City. One would agree that his legacy deserves more than just appearances in the Wisden Almanacs which no one buys, but that greater audience was shut out from understanding let alone developing an appreciation of his achievements.

In the four years since Ntini’s retirement, he probably inspired and continues to inspire more cricketers in this country than have Smith, de Villiers, Kallis and Dale Steyn in spite of all their record-breaking achievements together.

No matter how much Ali Bacher and his incidental media lackeys may sensationalise his association with the late Nelson Mandela, and falsely claim that there was ever a cricket future for South Africa born out of that association, cricket at the highest levels remains a preserve of a few whites, and there isn’t and will never be a future in it for the majority unless drastic measures are taken.

Thami Tsolekile must without fail play in the next series, and continue to do so until he is either injured, rested, or perhaps dropped if there is satisfactory evidence - over a decent number of matches and series - that he is not cut out for this level. In which case no one can have any arguments, and we can all happily expect to announce his retirement from international cricket. Tumelo Bodibe, Lefa Mosena and Mangaliso Mosehle are all waiting in the wings.

I on the other hand have full confidence that he will not sink but swim, and swim well for long, and retire on his own terms. His central contract must be reinstated and Bavuma must be added to the squad and contracted as well.

A young Black cricketer, Siphe Mzaidume, like some of his peers, has had to migrate to the land of the colonisers’ origin in order to stand a greater chance of progress with them than the settlers back in his home South Africa. This is damning! Kagiso Rabada is the latest young sensation, our star seamer of this year’s u19 World Cup. Remember that name brothers and sister, because while it may be hot right now, it won’t be long before Hudson and his gang extinguish it completely.

The only place you’ll see it if fortunate is behind the desk as a sidekick panellist or commentator on Supersport, or SABC if they are offered the screening at cut price, assuming of course they haven’t imported another Mpumelelo Mbangwa from another African country just like they did with Tendai Beast Mutawaria in rugby, as if to say there aren’t thousands of Black South Africans involved the game while they are actually being systematically and effectively sidelined.

Unless Mbalula is prepared to honour his responsibility, or his successor assuming he will not be returning to the portfolio soon, the parents of these children would do well to taper their beloved children’s expectations, however talented and promising they might be. Chiliboy Ralepelle has had to resort to taking his younger brother Ngoako with him to France after the Bulls ignored him.

We wait with anticipation for your action Minister.