Kugandrie Govender, acting CSA CEO. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Kugandrie Govender, acting CSA CEO. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Crisis-ridden, confused Cricket SA turns to Sascoc for guidance

By Stuart Hess Time of article published Sep 1, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - To the overall crisis affecting Cricket South Africa (CSA), can now be added confusion, as the organisation seeks to deal with the fall out from its decision to postpone its AGM, by consulting with the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc).

Sascoc is still in the midst of its own administrative crisis, as it tries to implement the recommendations of a Commission of Inquiry from two years ago.

Sascoc’s current leadership is made up of an acting president, while one of its two vice-presidents has been suspended. The other vice-presidency position is currently vacant.

Given its current status, Sascoc is hardly in a position to provide advice about governance. On Tuesday, CSA turned to Sascoc for advice on the recommendation of Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

According to its statement on Monday, Cricket South Africa has to reconfigure its organisational structure by implementing recommendations made in the forensic audit report compiled by Fundudzi Forensic Services. It has to align those with “outstanding matters recommended by the Nicholson Commission of Inquiry,” eight years ago.

That’s a complicated set of issues.

In fact, it was in order to appease Sascoc that Cricket SA diluted the recommendations made by retired high court judge Chris Nicholson. Doing so ultimately led to this current administrative crisis.

Nicholson was tasked by then Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula to look into the bonus scandal that resulted from South Africa hosting the Indian Premier League in 2009. Following the Nicholson Commission, then CSA chief executive Gerald Majola was sacked.

Nicholson’s recommendations included a new streamlined Board of Directors in keeping with modern corporate governance practices. Nicholson recommended a 12-person Board comprising nine independent directors, with a CEO, Treasurer and secretary to round it up.

But Sascoc’s leadership at the time didn’t like the presence on a Board of that many independent directors, even when CSA moved to lower that figure to five independent directors, creating a 50/50 split on the Board between independent and non-independent representatives.

Former Sascoc CEO Tubby Reddy was sacked by Sascoc in 2018 following allegations of sexual harassment. . Photo: Aubrey Kgakatsi, BackpagePix

“Sascoc was never going to accept a ‘5/5’ split … Sascoc has a number of concerns with the make-up of the board. We don’t feel there should be the same number of independents as union presidents. The balance must be in favour of sports people. We feel that sport should be run by sport people,” Sascoc’s Tubby Reddy, then its CEO said in 2012.

Just like this year, Cricket SA had to postpone its AGM eight years ago as well, to deal with the fallout.

Reddy was sacked by Sascoc in 2018 following allegations of sexual harassment.

Read: Cricket SA AGM postponed to fully consider outstanding matters

Following Monday’s meeting with Mthethwa, CSA was instructed to also address concerns raised by some representatives on the Members Council to try and attain some stability in the organisation. However at least one provincial affiliate, the Central Gauteng Lions have called for the current Board to resign immediately.

The concern the CGL has, which is shared by some other affiliates, including the KwaZulu Natal Cricket Union, is how CSA can be expected to make any progress on the issues contained in the forensic audit report when it may very well implicate some current office-bearers at the organisation.

In a Members Council meeting last Monday night, a team from CSA’s lawyers, Bowman Gilfillan told representatives that the forensic report contains “20 strands of findings which are broad and far reaching.” The majority of the findings relate to commercial matters.

It won’t be lost on Council representatives that the current acting CEO of Cricket SA, Kugandrie Govender, was also Chief Commercial Officer for a much of the period covered in the report.

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Bowman Gilfillan’s representatives further outlined to the Members Council, that some issues related to findings in the report could require further investigation.

Even without viewing the report - which they now should be given access to - CSA’s Members Council must be concerned about how it can move forward on the remedial steps it needs to take - which Mthethwa called for - when individuals currently employed by the organisation, might also be investigated.

@shockerhess

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