Is it about race? Petty internal politics? Or is the good of cricket in Gauteng genuinely at heart?
It’s hard to tell with cricket in this province anymore. The administration of the game has been fractious for years now, with a large portion of clubs and players believing that their interests are disregarded.
The latest controversy surrounding a request from certain clubs for the Gauteng Cricket Board’s administrator Ray Mali to be removed is another indication about the lack of unity that persists within the province’s cricket administration.
However by yesterday afternoon clubs like Orange Farm and Katlehong had apparently withdrawn their support for Mali, and four other board birectors, to be removed, as had been claimed in a letter written and delivered to Mali’s office at the Wanderers on Monday. Not surprisingly race emerged strongly yesterday afternoon as one of the reasons behind the letter being issued. “None of the black clubs signed it,” said the chairman of the Soweto Cricket Club, Gordon Templeton.
In a statement yesterday the Gauteng Cricket Board claimed some of the signatures to the letter “were obtained by means of dishonest misrepresentations and by intimidation.”
Keith Lister, who said he was speaking on behalf of the clubs who had agreed to the letter, described the GCB’s response as “hysterical.”
“The clubs (who signed the letter) want one question answered: Why is Gauteng the only province under administration; we would like a legal response from Cricket SA as to why that is the case?”
Cricket SA’s interim chief executive Jacques Faul said he would examine the articles of the association as they pertained to the GCB, but he was perplexed as to why the clubs had asked for Mali to be removed when he has just three months remaining in the position. According to Templeton there are still “a whole lot of things that need to be completed” before Mali’s term as the GCB’s administrator ends on August 31. Among those are the new constitution – which will be taken to the clubs at a special general meeting at the end of July – and poor facilities at club grounds.
The bigger picture is that at the moment Cricket SA is undergoing a process where it is integrating a new administrative structure in line with the recommendations of Judge Chris Nicholson’s inquiry.
Nicholson called for a greater independent voice on CSA’s Board of Directors.
Asked what impact CSA’s restructuring might have on the GCB and especially the need for more independence, Templeton responded: “It’s all about best practice, but is South Africa ready for those circumstances? What works in Australia and New Zealand may not necessarily be what’s good for South Africa.”