Thabang Moroe. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
Thabang Moroe. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Elusive Cricket South Africa report still in a game of hide and seek

By Stuart Hess, Opinion Time of article published Sep 27, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - We know South Africa doesn’t have a nuclear bomb (officially), so we know there are no nuclear codes. So that’s one thing Cricket South Africa is not keeping secret in its forensic audit report.

We do know why the investigation which led to the report was commissioned. We even know the terms of reference for the investigators of Fundudzi Forensic Services. We don’t know what Fundudzi found or what if any conclusions they drew. The investigators’ report was summarised by Cricket SA’s lawyers Bowman Gillfillan, and that summary is the only portion that has been made available on a broader basis.

Provincial union presidents were guided through the summary at a workshop two weeks ago, and the CEOs of the provincial affiliates are supposed to be given access to the summary as well.

A couple of Members Council representatives have publicly stated they understand why the full report is being kept secret. The possibility of litigation and needing to protect those against whom there might be charges have been raised as reasons. At least one Members Council representative, KwaZulu-Natal’s Ben Dladla has outlined his misgivings about the names of individuals involved in any alleged misdeeds not being identified through the summary.

However on Friday Limpopo’s representative on the Members Council John Mogodi said he was clear that based on the findings in the summary action could be taken against individuals. “On every single finding there were people identified...they were mentioned for this particular finding and then in each instance, it was said that either this will need further investigation or this will need to go straight to court, or this will need a certain action,” said Mogodi.

“Some stuff will take years, I assume, especially those needing further investigation, but those that are ready for court, I expect those will go to court as soon as possible. If a matter is ready for court, then it must go to court.”

Mogodi couldn’t give examples however. So for instance, one part of the terms of reference given to Fundudzi related to the revoking of accreditation of five journalists. As matters stand currently, the only person held responsible for that, is Thabang Moroe, who was fired from his position as CEO. The person who was the head of Cricket SA’s Communications department - and was the contact point for media regarding accreditation - Thamie Mthembu is still employed by CSA and in fact got a promotion following the resignation of Jacques Faul as acting CEO in August.

So did the person who supposedly had oversight of the Communications department, in her role as Chief Commercial Officer, Kugandrie Govender. She is now acting CEO. She has vehemently denied any knowledge of the processes or meetings which led to the decision to revoke accreditations.

The fact however that so much remains unknown about just that one portion of the terms of reference is concerning. What about the others; the step-in rights CSA exercised in dealing with Western Province and North West, the spending on company credit cards, the mismanagement of the relationship between CSA and the SA Cricketers Association? All of those can’t solely be placed at the feet of Moroe?

The pressure from outside of CSA is starting to increase. The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee - notwithstanding all its troubles - has been empowered by Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa to sort this mess out. Sascoc’s Board met Friday, and afterwards insisted that they want access to the full forensic report and will not sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement to obtain it. Aleck Skhosana - who was Sascoc’s acting president two weeks ago but is now acting vice president, after Barry Hendricks was returned to the acting president’s role last week, said all the olympic body wanted was the report.

That would allow it to set up its task team which Sascoc hopes will get to the bottom of all the problems ailing CSA. “We want the report, we want the report, we want the report,” Skhosana pointedly remarked.

All of which indicates that Sascoc and CSA are exactly where they were two weeks ago. It also underlines how Beresford Williams - CSA’s acting president - has failed in his “engagement” efforts.

With both sides digging in, this whole mess looks like it will go back to Mthethwa’s desk. “This matter is being managed by Sascoc,” his office said on Friday. “The minister must allow the process to take its course and await feedback from Sascoc on how the matters are being resolved.”

Skhosana said Sascoc would be meeting with Mthethwa soon. That meeting is critical.

There was a veiled threat from Skhosana about preventing tours into the country until the impasse is resolved. If that step is taken it would have a debilitating effect on CSA’s finances, which have already taken a hit with sponsors withdrawing and a broadcast deal with SuperSport which remains unsigned.

There is already a lot of anxiety about Mthethwa not signing off on England coming to South Africa for a short limited overs tour in November - matches that will provide a much needed boost to CSA’s finances.

Mthethwa’s office said he may outline in the next few days about the circumstances needed for international sport to resume. It would be one bit of good news for SA cricket. However problems continue to linger and until more is known about what’s in that report and most importantly the people that must be held accountable for dragging CSA into this mess, it is a sport that remains in crisis.

@shockerhess

IOL Sport

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