Thabang Moroe tells SJN he was victimised by a lot of people, including media and Proteas
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JOHANNESBURG – Thabang Moroe told the Social Justice and Nation Building hearing that he was victimised because of his race during his time at Cricket SA, that included being attacked by the media and in one mysterious instance, being allegedly undermined by the Proteas players.
Speaking under oath on Tuesday, Cricket SA’s former CEO, told the hearings how he had been made to look like the bad guy and was blamed for the countless problems that have beset the organisation in the last few years. Those troubles led to a forensic audit and then intervention from the Sports Minister, Nathi Mthethwa.
Cricket SA fired Moroe in August 2020, based on what the organisation termed at that time was “expert external legal opinion supported by the findings emanating from an independent forensic investigation”.
“The independent forensic investigation revealed that Mr. Thabang Moroe had committed acts of serious misconduct,” CSA stated. Moroe has approached the courts, following that axing, citing, wrongful dismissal.
Moroe told the SJN, that he had not been allowed to properly access documents – that include minutes of board meetings – to assist in his defence and so he didn’t “partake in the forensic investigation”.
He talked about how he had been victimised by the media, from even before he’d been made the acting CEO in 2017, in the wake of the departure of Haroon Lorgat. Following the appointment of Ottis Gibson as Proteas head coach in 2017, there were a number of debates involving the composition of his coaching staff Moroe said.
By the start of 2019, a few months before the World Cup, Moroe told the hearings, he had met with Gibson twice to tell him that the Board was unhappy with Gibson’s performance.
Moroe, who was quoted at a press conference in January 2019 as stating, “Personally I’m very happy with the work Ottis has done,” – told the SJN that he was subsequently “demonised,” by the media, who Moroe said had declared he was interfering in team selection. “I was this individual who was pinned as ‘he wanted his way, or it was the highway,’ essentially,” Moroe told the SJN.
He said he faced this kind of criticism because he was vocal and acted on transformation.
Moroe also told the SJN, about a member of the national team, who in early 2019 told Moroe about a meeting the player had inadvertently walked in on, involving some other players and the team’s management at the time, where they discussed what Moroe told the SJN, the player had told him was a ‘Plan B’.
Ostensibly Moroe testified, this ‘Plan B’ was to feed information to the media, blaming Moroe, if the team failed or performed badly at the World Cup which was taking place later that year.
Moroe had to be reminded by the SJN’s ombudsman, Adv Dumisa Ntsebeza, about the SJN’s mandate, when Ntsebeza felt Moroe started criticising how he’d been suspended by CSA while the forensic investigation was being conducted.
“While you are allowed to give an account of specific instances where you feel you were not dealt with fairly, as a person involved in the administration, we don’t want to lose focus on what the office of transformation ombudsman is mandated to do.”
Ntsebeza seemed to show Moroe some sympathy at the end of his lengthy testimony. “However more complicated our task is going to be when we consider every bit of evidence that has been put before us, it clearly will be made lighter because we now have both your written submission and your testimony today.
“It’s clear, for anyone, certainly for me – and this is not a predetermined view – that there are instances in your narrative, which show that you were not dealt with fairly. That certain things were done to you, because they amount to discrimination,” said Ntsebeza.
“That is my prima facie view, based on what you have stated.” Ntsebeza then remarked that if anyone were to come forward to say that Moroe “got it all wrong”, he would welcome that.
Cricket SA confirmed that it would make “a formal submission to the Ombud in September.”
The SA Cricketers Association – the players union, which has also been criticised during the hearings – will appear later this month.