Cricket South Africa: More cricket, less boardroom shenanigans ... please
JOHANNESBURG – So can we all just get on with the game now? That shouldn’t be too much to ask. However, it has been for Cricket South Africa’s administrators – supposedly custodians of the sport.
We are closing in on one year since Thabang Moroe was suspended, a decision that set off a storm in which plenty of dirty washing has been hung. It was CSA’s administrators, whether the executive, the Members Council or the previous Board of Directors, who kept trying to dodge taking responsibility for the mess the organisation was in.
They spun a legal web in trying to avoid accountability. It has become the way with CSA, an organisation that in the last 18 months has become more attuned to legal fights than trying to grow the game attached to its name.
From the Labour Court to the CCMA, to delving into the Companies Act seeking protection on a technicality, to justifying how the Memorandum of Incorporation didn’t allow for an interim Board, to telling the minister of sports, arts and culture – as previous acting president Beresford Williams did – he didn’t understand the National Sport and Recreation Act.
Of run-rates, outswingers, offbreaks, googlies and bouncers, there was very little to be heard. Amidst all this administrative mayhem in 2020 there was the need to get back to playing once the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions were lifted.
The operational team continued its work under difficult circumstances, desperately trying to avoid distraction while attempting to put plans in place for the national men’s and women’s teams who both face packed schedules and, in the case of the latter, a critical 18 months.
Training camps for the women’s team need to be finalised with approval from the executive, which hasn’t happened. Staff at CSA involved in ensuring the games take place, that players, officials and equipment is in the right place at the right time, keep worrying about what will happen next.
The players were left frowning after a meeting with the acting chief executive, in which she pointed out the reason there was so much criticism of the organisation from the media, was that some journalists were upset about not getting freebies or being overlooked for jobs.
Such juvenile excuses being cooked up, to again explain away their own inability to take responsibility for the mess in which they had left the organisation.
Staff are angry. Players are angry. The public has stopped believing anything that comes out of any CSA’s administrators’ mouths leading to a collective sigh of relief that the Sports, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa stepped in and finally put an end to the stupidity. Although CSA tried very hard again last week to drag one last pail from that well of foolishness by suggesting they wouldn’t work with the interim board.
Sanity prevailed on Monday night. In amongst the many clowns on the Members Council, there was some sense – the Central Gauteng Lions president, Anne Vilas, elected to that position in May, will emerge a hero of sorts from all this as she led the plea for her fellow presidents to stop trying to fight with the government.
For now, the independent Board, led by the candid retired justice Zak Yacoob can continue its very important work in getting CSA right and hopefully putting some grown ups in charge of the place again. The mandate from Mthethwa remains unchanged, as does the presence of former chief executive, Haroon Lorgat.
Thankfully the English national men’s team arrived in the country yesterday and will start preparations in unique circumstances along with the Proteas for six limited-overs matches.
It will be a welcome return to see cricket being played and hopefully not have to concern ourselves with Acts, Memorandums and boardroom shenanigans.