CSA’s Basson’s past in the limelight

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iol spt dec28 Willie Basson Independent Newspapers Its emerged that CSA acting president Willie Basson worked on South Africas chemical warfare programme in the early 1980s. File picture.

The future leadership of cricket in South Africa hangs in the balance – with an emergency Cricket South Africa board meeting now scheduled for January 9.

The turmoil in recent months has centred on the composition of the new CSA board – specifically how many “independent” board members will sit in future, and whether one of them will end up as the chairman.

It has already been confirmed that Norman Arendse will definitely sit on the new board, after an arbitration ruling in his favour – but the numbers of his fellow board members are still up for debate.

CSA has to have its AGM by February 2, and thus has to finalise the board members’ matter by January 11.

But a new matter has arisen since – the acting presidency of CSA of Dr Willie Basson, which is due to run until the AGM.

Concerns were raised about Basson’s past earlier this month after reports that he had worked on South Africa’s chemical warfare programme in the early 1980s.

Basson said he was involved in the planning and designing of defensive programmes for the country during the apartheid regime, but also post-apartheid – doing the same work for the current government.

“Shortly before 1994, because of my expertise, I was approached by the government and then I was involved for about seven or eight years with the current government’s initiatives, (doing) the same work,” he said.

He said he was designing and running research programmes, but his expertise lay in protective systems – how the government would safeguard against attacks.

Despite this explanation, Western Province Cricket president Beresford Williams told the Cape Argus yesterday: “The matter is on the agenda for the emergency meeting on January 9, which around six provincial presidents have called for, and which Dr Basson has agreed to.

“At the meeting, we will discuss the matter. We will allow him an opportunity to respond, and thereafter we will decide on the matter.

“Once we have heard this explanation will we decide whether to introduce a motion of no confidence.”

Williams confirmed that this motion would go ahead “if the facts in the article were correct” – a reference to a reported allegation that Basson’s work with the programme had links to the chemical warfare programme of the apartheid regime run by Wouter Basson, who became known as “Dr Death”. It is an allegation Dr Willie Basson has denied. - Cape Argus


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