Cricket South Africa will apply an affirmative action policy when hiring consultants in future, which could affect the likes of Jacques Kallis and Paul Harris. While the directive is not set in stone, it will be used a means to test whether people of colour are provided with opportunities they may otherwise have been denied.
"Obviously there is a lot of talent sitting in the white pool, just by our history and if there is a particular skill that only a white consultant can offer CSA, then obviously we will use them," Kugandrie Govender, CSA's acting CEO told ESPNcricinfo. "This an internal measure for us to check ourselves because there was no measure before and people did whatever they wanted to do. We need to ask: 'Could you have employed a black person in this position?' We are not saying we don't want any white people. We are saying if you want that you have got to go through a process and you have specifically prove that no-one else can do the job."
Asked specifically what this may mean for the future involvement of Kallis, who worked as a batting consultant during the previous summer, Govender said: "I'll swap it around: do you think anyone else could do what Kallis was doing? If Graeme (Smith) says Jacques can do this, nobody else can, then the cricket people need to decide."
Govender said South Africa's director of cricket Graeme Smith, who is in charge of support staff appointments for the national men's and women's team, the under-19 side and the academy, has been informed of the policy. "I have spoken to Graeme, he was in all of the meetings. It's not something he doesn't know about. One of our organisational objectives is to transform. We inherited that people before us did that transform," she said. "While Graeme does have a contract that says he has decision-making power, he has to work within the policies and processes of CSA, like we all do."
Smith has come under fire for appointments he made when he took over in December last year and named Mark Boucher men's head coach, and roped in Kallis in as a batting consultant. In his defence, he previously pointed to the other support staff he also hired, and emphasised Kallis' worth.
"I made a number of appointments, not only Mark Boucher - such as the permanent appointment of Volvo (Masubelele), the team manager, Justin Ontong (fielding coach), Charl Langeveldt (bowling coach), Enoch Nkwe (assistant coach) and the medical staff," Smith said last month. "If you're asking me whether I think Jacques Kallis is one of the best cricketers we've ever had, I will tell you yes. It would be stupid of us not to involve our most successful cricketer and the batting experiences he could bring to our young batters. But I understand (people's concerns). I think a balanced approach is key."
Apart from Kallis and Harris, who was requested by Keshav Maharaj to work with him during the summer, this could also impact on those not involved with on-field activities such as the security company, headed by Rory Steyn or the professional coaching courses led by Anton Ferreira. If or how they will be affected is yet to be determined, but Govender underlined that CSA must show a greater commitment to transformation because they recognise that their pace of change has been too slow.
She pointed to the outpouring of stories of discrimination from former players of colour which has dominated the cricket conversation in this country over the last few weeks as evidence that CSA has to act decisively and immediately "Our problems are not financial. Our reserves remain the same. We would have liked to add to it but we closed the year on a profit. Our problems stem from the fact that we have not transformed enough and not fast enough," Govender said. "It's a regulatory measure that we are saying we are holding ourselves accountable because in the past we haven't. It is radical in some sense but if it had happened organically over the years, it wouldn't need to be.Is it an ideal? Absolutely not."
CSA have also come under fire from South Africa's sports ministry recently for appointing several white men to senior positions and will consult with the minister Nathi Mthethwa as they prepare to reschedule their AGM. Govender made it clear that the new policy has not been imposed on CSA by Mthethwa or his office. "It was not a directive from government. They wanted to know what our turnaround plan is and this is one of the things," she said.
CSA have yet to decide a new date for their AGM which has been moved from Saturday as the organisation aims to address a range of issues, from governance to transformation.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent