Thursday, May 23, 2024

CSA mourns the passing of Dr Willie Basson

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Photo Credit: Cricket South Africa

Cricket South Africa (CSA) has learnt with sadness and a feeling of great loss of the passing of its former Acting President, Dr Willie Basson, this morning. 

Dr Basson served as Acting President of CSA from March to September 2012 and played a leading role in the implementation of many of the recommendations of the Nicholson Committee. 

He served the Northerns Cricket Union over a long period, starting with his election as chair of CBC Old Boys Club in 1973 leading through to becoming president of Northerns from 1980 to 1990 and a Board member of the South African Cricket Union from 1985 to 1990. 

In his professional life he was Professor of Chemistry at Pretoria University, contributed numerous articles to International Scientific publications and served in various capacities at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) as well as major companies such as Iscor, SA Druggists and Sasol. 

“There are few people who have made a bigger contribution to sport in South Africa,” commented CSA Board chairperson Mr Lawson Naidoo, “particularly during the difficult period of unifying sport in the transition period leading up to the first democratic national elections. 

“These included being an executive member of the National Olympic Committee of South Africa (NOCSA) that had to oversee the selection of a representative team for the Olympic Games of 1992 in Barcelona and then on the National Sports Council (NSC) which became the national controlling body post the democratic elections. 

“He was a leader in establishing sound governance principles in sport and his work here included being a member and director of the Drug Free Institute of South African sport.” 

CSA President Mr Rihan Richards highlighted the enormous contribution he had made to the transformation of sport and cricket, in particular. 

“He was a member of the Ministerial Commission that conducted an extensive enquiry into the status of transformation in South African Cricket which led to a review by SA Cricket of their approach to Transformation. 

“He also served as chair of CSA’s transformation committee. In this role he was the author of CSA’s Transformation Charter and Scorecard that included a strategic transformation fund. These were all initiatives to put transformation on a focused and dynamic path after the slow start we had made in the early years of our organisation. 

“He was also a member of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) that advised the Minister from 2012 until his untimely passing on transformation in sport and the progress that was or wasn’t being made across all sporting codes. 

“Transformation remains a work in progress, and we owe him a great debt of gratitude for what has been achieved to date.” 

CSA Acting Chief Executive Mr Pholetsi Moseki saluted his contribution to sport. “The very fact that the NSC nominated him for the Protea Presidential award and that President Nelson Mandela personally honoured him with the State President award for Services to Sport in 1998 speaks volumes for his contribution to South African sport. 

“We are indeed grateful that his first love was cricket and that we as an organisation benefited from his wise advice and counsel over a number of decades. He is yet another of the outstanding South Africans whom we have lost in recent times. 

“On behalf of the CSA family and indeed all South African sports lovers I extend our deepest condolences to his wife, Felicity, and family, his friends and colleagues throughout the sporting world.” 

Northerns Cricket Union (NCU) also paid their tribute. 

Tebogo Siko – NCU President 

As an honourary life member of Northerns Cricket Union and Board president in the early days at the Union It is tragic for us to lose someone of Dr Willie Basson’s calibre. 

He was someone who promoted unity and was always available when we needed to tap into his well of experience. He had a great understanding of the past and the current situation and was always prepared to share his knowledge. 

Willie Basson was very passionate about transformation and was an expert on the EPG program and was very instrumental at CSA and as advisor to the Sports Minister with regard to transformation in the sport. 

Dr Jacques Faul – Titans CEO 

The passing of Dr Willie Basson is a huge loss, not only for the Titans but South African cricket. Dr Willie Basson started the EPG program at CSA and he was committed to transformation, he believed in it and advocated for better representation in cricket. 

I worked closely with him when I was acting CEO at CSA in 2012, he was acting president at the time, we made big strides working together and formed a very good friendship. 

Dr Willie Basson was president of the board when SuperSport Park was built and played an instrumental role in the formation and development of this iconic stadium. He is an honorary life member of NCU and we will continue to build on the foundation he has set. He has made major contributions to South African cricket and will be dearly missed. 


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