Cricket South Africa members’ council – the highest-decision making body within the organisation, which consists of the 14 provincial affiliate presidents – will not appoint the interim board imposed on them by sports minister Nathi Mthethwa, leaving the game in administrative limbo. The Members’ Council and the interim board, the two bodies that were due to work together to clean up CSA’s governance structures are now, effectively, at an impasse.
In a statement issued on Thursday afternoon, the members’ council revealed that they have written to Mthethwa to raise “material concerns,” over the interim board and stressed that they “are not prepared” to let the interim board do its work. This decision goes squarely against Mthethwa’s directive and may result in the minister intervening in CSA, as he threatened to last month. Mthethwa has the power to withdraw funding from CSA and to strip them of their status as the governing body of cricket in South Africa.
The interim board responded shortly after with a statement of their own, confirming that they have received a letter from the members’ council, which raised concerns about how the interim board was constituted and over conflicts of interests in relation to one member, Haroon Lorgat. While the statement from the interim board did not detail Lorgat’s conflicts, as former CEO of Cricket South Africa, Lorgat would have been in charge during the period under review in the forensic report, which was used to fire his successor Thabang Moroe.
The interim board have already begun work and indicated their intention to continue, calling the members’ council position “obstructionist.” In a statement the interim board said, “The current situation is untenable and we are thus dismayed to be in receipt of what we can only describe as an obstructionist, legalistic letter from the Members’ Council while we have tried to put structures in place and hold individuals within CSA to account. We are of the view that the conduct of the Members’ Council is an attempt to stymie the work of our Board.”
As a result, a saga that began with Moroe’s suspension in December last year (and subsequent dismissal for financial misconduct in August) and came to a head when the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) asked CSA’s board and executive to stand down in September has entered a new stage of standoff. Now, the members’ council and the minister-appointed interim board are in disagreement over who should clean up the mess in South African cricket, with the members’ council insisting they will “take the necessary steps to ensure that the concerns, which Minister Mthethwa and SASCOC have previously raised, are addressed efficiently and professionally.”
The members’ council pointed to their role in convincing the previous CSA board to resign en masse following repeated calls from stakeholders including SASCOC and the South African Cricketers’ Association for them to stand down as evidence that they have the game at heart.
“The Members Council embarked on a process last month to facilitate the resignation of the then-incumbent board members of CSA, with the intention of appointing an Interim Board that would work collaboratively with all stakeholders,” the members’ council statement read. “The main objective of the new Interim Board was to work closely with the Members Council and CSA executives, to achieve necessary change within the organisation and to take cricket forward until a new board is elected at the annual general meeting.”
However, the members’ council and interim board were unable to form a constructive alliance with the members’ council concerned with |unresolved matters including a “conflict of interest relating to a proposed member of the Interim Board; opposition to outlined roles, responsibilities and reporting lines as outlined in the Memorandum of Incorporation; unprofessional conduct; non-cooperation; and misalignment.” The members’ council believe that if they had continued to work with the interim board they would have “failed to ensure that it acts in the public interest at all times.”
The interim board disputes this assertion and said the members’ council have been “unwilling to cooperate,” and have “acted in bad faith and contrary to the consensus it reached with Mthethwa.” The interim board said it is “determined to continue our work in the public interest and in the best interests of cricket in South Africa.”
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