Cricket South Africa in major power play as AGM hangs in the balance
JOHANNESURG - Next Saturday Cricket South Africa is scheduled to hold its Annual General Meeting where a number of critical posts are supposed to be filled.
But whether the AGM will even go ahead as planned is something that will only be determined over the next few days. The Central Gauteng Lions became the first provincial affiliate to publicly express its displeasure about the nominations process for candidates to serve on CSA’s new Board of Directors. It has outlined how candidates it had nominated were not even discussed by CSA’s nominations committee.
The presence of Border Cricket president Simphiwe Ndzundzu as a candidate for a place on the Board is also controversial given he is the subject of an investigation for assault in East London. It’s been alleged that Ndzundzu choked another Border official, Sinethemba Mjekula, after forcing his way into Mjekula’s house. He is also alleged to have hit Mjekula’s sister with a knobkerrie, breaking her arm in the process and pushing Mjekula’s disabled mother to the floor.
“I am quite surprised that nobody has, in the circumstances, raised the eligibility of him to stand for elections at a time when CSA publicly professes its support for the anti-violence campaign against women,” CGL president Anne Vilas wrote in a letter addressed to CSA’s Board, the organisation’s acting chief executive Kugandrie Govender and other representatives of CSA’s Members Council.
The CGL, while calling for the current Board to resign immediately, also threatened to lodge a dispute if its concerns weren’t addressed.
There are doubts about two other candidates nominated for election next week. Xolani Vonya, currently suspended by his own union, Easterns, hasn’t, understandably, been endorsed by that union to stand as a candidate for a position on the CSA Board.
The same goes for Donovan May, who is running for the CSA presidency against Beresford Williams, Tebogo Siko from Northerns and Ben Dladla from KwaZulu-Natal, but doesn’t have support from his own union, Eastern Province.
In an extraordinary admission to the Members Council at a meeting last Monday night, CSA’s company secretary, Welsh Gwaza, said that the presence of Eugenia Kula-Ameyaw’s name as the sole candidate for the Lead Independent Director post was a “mistake”.
That position - which is in effect the vice-chairperson of the Board - is supposed to be voted for by the five independent directors. Ahead of the AGM, CSA has just four independent directors following the recent resignation of Steve Cornelius.
Kula-Ameyaw, and the three other candidates are the only names on the list of nominees for independent directors. The CGL lists individuals like Norman Arendse SC, Dr. Barney Pityana, Ilhaam Groenewald, and Steven Budlender SC among others who were submitted to CSA’s nominations committee to stand as independent directors. They were not put up as candidates, which the CGL says breaches CSA’s Memorandum of Incorporation.
Meanwhile, the continued inability of the Members Council to access the forensic audit report - which CSA’s Board used last week to fire Thabang Moroe - also rankles among provincial union presidents, who make up the Council.
It was the Members Council, according to former CSA president Chris Nenzani, which commissioned the forensic audit. However the Council can only access the report by going to the offices of CSA’s lawyers Bowman Gilfillan and signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement before reading it, which has left members furious. At last Monday’s Members Council meeting, Dladla asked if even a one or two page summary could be made available to the Council, but that was rebuffed by representatives of Bowman Gilfillan.
The Bowman Gilfillan team further told the Members Council that some of the findings from the forensic investigation can be dealt with expeditiously, but others needed further investigation.
However, the CGL, Dladla and some of the other Council representatives said the absence of the report makes it difficult for them to decide who they can vote for at the AGM.
One major example is the CSA presidency; Williams, May and Siko all served on the Board of Directors last year when Moroe committed what CSA said on Thursday were “acts of serious misconduct”. If the forensic report reveals that they did not practice proper oversight of Moroe, would any of them be fit to be president of CSA? And what of other management staff who may have aided and abetted Moroe? How can any new Board trust those people?
The forensic report won’t remain hidden. Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa wants to see it before next Saturday. Expect another dramatic week for CSA, an organisation that simply cannot liberate itself from controversy.