DA wants parly to probe Proteas

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The South African cricket team's World Cup exit has been overshadowed by allegations that there was high-level interference in the hours leading up to the match to have Vernon Philander, a player of colour, brought back into the starting line-up ahead of the in-form Kyle Abbott, a white player.

The allegations have been strenuously denied by Cricket South Africa (CSA) and team management who said Philander was picked after being declared fit despite the fact that up until then he had had a very average tournament while Abbott had been one of the star performers for the Proteas.

CSA released a statement on Saturday night in which it said it had commissioned an examination of the team selection process for the match against the Black Caps which found that there had not been interference, including to deny the explosive allegation that a SMS had been sent by CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat to coach Russel Domingo to insist on Philander's inclusion.

But the DA said a parliamentary inquiry was the best intervention to "clear the dark cloud hanging over this matter which has serious implications for the true independence of national sports teams".

"External interference in technical matters of sports team is a serious violation of local and international sports practices" DA spokesperson on sport, Solly Malatsi, said. "While the leadership of Cricket South Africa (CSA) has flatly denied external interference in the selection of the team, allegations of political interference of this magnitude should be investigated by Parliament.

"The latest revelations by the Proteas conditioning coach, Mr Mike Horn, and the CSA's insistence of silence from those parties allegedly implicated in this matter, is not sufficiently reassuring to the public that there was no undue pressure to change the team."

Horn had hinted at political interference last week before saying he had been quoted out of context. The CSA statement on Saturday said that based on its own findings and also "noting Mike Horn's clarifications contained in his letter of apology, it is clear that the allegations made in various media are unfounded and mischievous".

But the DA said: "Furthermore, the CSA's own finding that there was no interference in the team selection is questionable given that senior figures in its federations are allegedly implicated in the saga. This brings into question the genuine independence of the CSA's investigation."

Malatsi said: "Cricket SA has made major inroads in rebuilding its image and restoring good governance following a period of instability that culminated in the dismissal of former CEO Gerald Majola. Any failure to get to the bottom of this matter in a transparent manner risks reversing these positive gains. We hope that the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, Beauty Dlulane, will accede to our request so that we can establish the truth and resolve this lingering matter once and for all."

The DA has requested a Parliamentary inquiry into allegations of political interference in the Proteas' team selection.

Original source: DA wants parly to probe Proteas

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