CSA chief Thabang Moroe remains suspended despite pitching up for work
JOHANNESBURG - Cricket South Africa’s Board of Directors stated emphatically that Thabang Moroe remains suspended pending the outcome of an independent forensic audit.
The Board held an emergency meeting on Thursday, that carried on late into the night, resulting in a brief statement that was released after midnight which said very little. Moroe turned up for work at Cricket SA’s head office in Johannesburg on Thursday morning, reckoning his suspension period which he understood to be six months was over.
However following Thursday night’s Board meeting, it seems Cricket SA don’t believe that is the case. “The Board wishes to clarify that the Chief Executive Officer was suspended in December 2019 pending the outcome of an independent forensic investigation into management practices at Cricket South Africa,” said the statement from the Board.
“The letter of suspension issued to the Chief Executive Officer explicitly stated that he was suspended until the conclusion of the independent forensic investigation. This investigation is not yet complete and therefore the Chief Executive Officer remains suspended and any assertion that his suspension was for a predetermined period is without basis.”
Moroe pitched up at Cricket South Africa’s offices on Thursday morning and will do so again Friday according to his lawyer, Michael Bill.
“He has a legal obligation to report for duty upon the expiration of the term of his suspension,” Bill said Thursday about Moroe arriving at CSA’s head office in Johannesburg. “Does he intend to remain fulfilling his contractual duties, which is to serve CSA? Yes he does,” Bill added.
Bill stated that CSA contravened its own policies in how it dealt with his client. “There hasn’t been any disciplinary process. There have been conversations,” said Bill.
Moroe was suspended in the first week of December last year. At the time, Cricket SA’s Board said it had done so following “reports from the Social and Ethics Committee and the Audit and Risk Committee of the Board related to possible failure of controls in the organisation.”
Jacques Faul was appointed in an acting capacity at the time, a role he was still fulfilling as of Thursday. “To my knowledge the Board is meeting (Thursday) evening (to discuss Moroe),” said Faul, adding he would carry on in an acting capacity unless told otherwise by the Board.
Since suspending Moroe, the Board has done nothing in terms of establishing any sort of disciplinary hearing, with Moroe being paid his full salary since December.
Despite using the reports from those two committees to suspend Moroe, CSA has not used those findings to establish any kind of disciplinary hearing.
Bill explained that Moroe was informed verbally of his suspension in December, which was contrary to CSA’s own provisions regarding such matters, which state that he must be told in writing and that he be given the right to state why he shouldn’t be suspended.
Moroe first received written confirmation of his suspension on January 24 according to Bill. “That letter also doesn’t deal with the procedural issues, it simply says he’s been suspended.” Two weeks later Moroe received another phone call stating his suspension was for six months from the time of the announcement in December. “The problem with that is (CSA’s) policy doesn’t provide for six months, it provides for two months and you can increase the two months in exceptional circumstances, but we don’t know what the exceptional circumstances are,” said Bill.
Faul also indicated that it is expressly stated in his secondment contract that he is to have nothing to do with the Moroe matter and that it would be for the Board to decide.
According to CSA’s post-midnight statement, the findings of the forensic audit are imminent.
“Once the Board receives the report, the Board will study the report and if disciplinary action against the Chief Executive Officer (or anyone else) is required to be taken, the Board will move swiftly to institute such disciplinary action so that the matter will be resolved as soon as possible,” read the statement.
Cricket SA has come under increasing pressure in the last week as Moroe’s suspension period was due to end. At the start of the week, the players representatives, the SA Cricketers Association slammed the board for its failure to finalise an inquiry into Moroe’s alleged misconduct. “There appears to be a distinct lack of will at Board level to deal with this matter, despite the dire need for finality on this material issue for all stakeholders in cricket,” said Saca’s chief executive, Andrew Breetzke.“The Board is confident that the investigation is coming to a head and there will be more clarity and certainty provided before the end of June,” the statement concluded.