Faf du Plessis of South Africa celebrates his 100 runs during the 2020 Betway Test Series Day 3 game between South Africa and Sri Lanka at SuperSport Park, Centurion, on December 27, 2020. (Photo: Samuel Shivambu / BackpagePix)
The end is in sight for the Cricket South Africa Interim Board. The Interior Ministry’s draft has been completed. The governance of South African cricket is being realigned through the separation of powers and the avoidance of conflicts of interest. Key is a new, largely independent board of directors. And then there’s the little thing about the ICC complaint.
First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.
The finish line for the term of the Interim Board at Cricket South Africa (CSA) is in sight and will effectively give the organization a new constitution.
A draft Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI), the governance document that will guide Cricket South Africa into the future, has been finalized and should be signed shortly.
This is a significant step forward for the beleaguered organization after nearly two years of governance turbulence that forced Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa to step in and appoint an interim board to clean up the mess.
The Interim Board’s term of office was extended twice when it came to fulfilling a broad nine-point mandate that covered all aspects of the organization. There are ongoing disciplinary proceedings against key executives of the former regime, including Company Secretary Welsh Gwaza and former CEO Thabang Moroe.
But in the larger scheme of things, these disciplinary questions are a minor matter. The real work of the interim committee was to create a foundation on the platform of a strong constitution and sound governance principles that will lead CSA into the future.
The new interior ministry will see a clear separation of powers between the members’ council, currently the highest decision-making body of the CSA, and a new, largely independent administrative board.
“A new Home Office is like writing a new constitution, and you need to ensure that the new constitution is modernized and conforms to the latest governance requirements,” said interim chairman Dr. Stavros Nicolaou.
“We don’t necessarily see the membership council and the executive board as two centers of power. What we want to achieve is better governance between the two structures so that you don’t get a conflict of interest, which is also known as “governance drifting”. “
Before Mthethwa entered, more than half of the CSA’s board of directors were also members of the membership council. There was a clear conflict of interest and an overlapping of powers.
“The Ministry of the Interior is an essential discussion, but other important issues such as the composition of the board are also essential,” said Nicolaou.
“A new Home Office has to speak to the new era we are evolving into, but it has to work for now and for the future. It has to be long-lasting so that we don’t take this responsibility lightly.
“It’s a responsibility that goes beyond cricket. Sport has shown an incredible power of association and social cohesion in our country, and cricket is an integral part of that.
“The decisions we make have to speak to cricket, but also to what cricket means to the entire nation. This means we must harness the power of sport to promote nation building and social cohesion. We will not lose sight of the fact that cricket is much more than a sport. “
The interim board will hold a special meeting in early March to finalize a new interior ministry that will serve as a roadmap for the future. As soon as this task is done, an annual general meeting will be called in early April.
The Annual General Meeting will officially end the term of office of the interim board. At this meeting, a new board of directors will be appointed in accordance with the provisions of the 2012 Nicholson Report, which recommends that a majority of directors be independent.
This approach was demanded by Mthethwa and accepted by the membership council.
Once a new permanent board is in place, the real work of saving cricket begins as the CSA’s internal problems have had a dramatic impact on its standing in the global game.
It has gotten to the point where the CSA can easily be sacked at the International Cricket Council (ICC) level after being a powerful and influential member of the organization.
“[The] CSA has lost a prestige seat at the table due to its internal challenges. At the ICC, we couldn’t concentrate on international affairs, ”said former ICC managing director Haroon Lorgat, who is also on the interim board. “It has created an imbalance in the world of cricket, and it will be a long time [the] CSA is restoring its reputation and place in international cricket.
“There’s a lot going on at the ICC level, especially with an obvious separation of the big three (India, England and Australia) from the rest. We see many encounters between these three countries to the detriment of the other. “
Complaint against Cricket Australia
That position was manifested in Cricket Australia (CA )’s recent decision to cancel its tour to South Africa, which resulted in the CSA filing a formal complaint with the ICC to assess the matter.
“Taking all relevant circumstances into account, we do not believe that CA’s cancellation of the tour for the World Test Championship was an ‘acceptable non-compliance’ [WTC] Competitive conditions, ”wrote the acting CEO of the CSA, Pholetsi Moseki, to the ICC managing director Manu Sawhney.
“Unfortunately, we have no choice but to formally move the matter forward under the terms of the WTC terms and conditions and the FTP [future tours programme] Approval.
“We are now officially calling [the] ICC will proceed to obtain a safety report, after which we will have the matter assessed by a dispute settlement body in accordance with the provisions of the ICC Dispute Settlement Committee the reference. “
Nicolaou provided more insight into how far the CSA has gone to meet the CA’s requirements.
“We made significant (and costly) improvements to the biosecurity bubble that we would have provided to Australia. The Sri Lankan men’s and Pakistan women’s teams successfully toured South Africa with organic bubbles that weren’t up to par [the] CA demanded.
“We have all joined [the] CA’s demands and we had a good strategy and yet we received a one-way notification that they were not on tour.
“CA cited strange reasons for their decision: South Africa was at the height of Covid-19 and the new virus strain was” more virulent. “
“They also feared that their players could be trapped in South Africa if they contracted the virus.
“We’re still unwrapping what they say because South Africa was on a downward trend the day they sent the letter. Second, we argue that the strain of Covid-19 is more contagious, but not “more virulent” as the CA claims.
“We also had assurances from the government that their players would be allowed to leave here and not be stranded, and we also had contracts with private hospitals that were guaranteed care in the event that one of the Australian tour groups needed hospitalization.
“The dispute is with the ICC. We do not know what the chances of success are, as the rules contain provisions related to Covid-19.
“But that’s not the main problem here. The real problem is that we need to gauge what impact these cancellations will have on the smaller and less affluent nations in cricket.
“A recalibration has to take place in relation to world cricket.” DM168
This story first appeared in our weekly newspaper Daily Maverick 168, which is available to Pick n Pay Smart Shoppers for free at these Pick n Pay Shops.