Seopa suspension: Infighting at Easterns claims another casualty
JOHANNESBURG - The Easterns Cricket Union’s suspension of chief executive Mpho Seopa is the culmination of a protracted period of infighting at the Benoni-based union, which earlier this year also suspended its president Xolani Vonya.
The ECU suspended Seopa last Friday “pending an investigation”. That suspension followed a special meeting of the Easterns board last week when a set of reports pertaining to Seopa, who is known to be a close confidant of Cricket South Africa’s suspended CEO Thabang Moroe, were submitted.
Among the charges are insubordination, overspending and not getting board approval for entertainment expenses.
Berrelyn Platt, a long serving administrator, has been put in charge as acting CEO for the time being.
Seopa’s suspension follows months of internal fights at the ECU, with board members divided into camps backing Seopa and Vonya and others who didn’t.
Cricket South Africa - facing administrative problems of its own - through its company secretary Welsh Gwaza, was roped in and appointed retired judge Bernard Ngoepe to find out whether Vonya had been properly removed from his position, something Ngoepe has yet to establish.
Many within Easterns believe the suspensions are an internal matter and do not require Cricket SA’s intervention.
Meanwhile, the mother body for the sport in South Africa issued another statement yesterday saying it would “investigate the origins and causes of leaks (to the media)”, which it claims is damaging the integrity of the organisation.
“We are concerned that information is being leaked to members of the media who are being drawn into agendas to manipulate public perception, and to destabilise and damage Cricket South Africa,” said CSA’s acting chief executive Jacques Faul.
CSA director of cricket Graeme Smith spoke about a similar theme during a lengthy press conference at the weekend, describing a “cancer within the organisation”, and wondering out loud what the ultimate goal was of people he believed wanted to damage the sport.
“You try and sit and work out who in senior positions in this organisation is doing this, and why? What is the end goal? Is it serving cricket?
“It’s quite clearly someone in a high-profile position, whether it is in the business part or the board part, because some of the stuff being leaked can only be from those parties within the organisation and that’s disappointing,” said Smith.
Faul pointed out the reputational damage CSA was suffering as a result of all the bad news around the organisation - which includes the continued inability to release the findings of forensic audit into Moroe - could lead to jobs being lost, because potential sponsors would not want to put their money into the sport.
“Cricket South Africa condemns anyone who leaks incomplete or inaccurate information to the media in the furtherance of their own interests, at a time when CSA should be focused on addressing the impact of Covid-19... and pressing matters raised by players within the Black Lives Matter context - and not on disruptive agendas,” he said.
“People who indulge in this sort of behaviour are not only putting their own jobs at risk but also those of the more than 1 000 people employed by cricket clubs and franchises across the country, as well as the many thousands of others that work in the cricket industry,” he concluded.