Minister of Arts & Culture, Sport and Recreation Nathi Mthathwa says he will intervene at Cricket SA. Photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)
Minister of Arts & Culture, Sport and Recreation Nathi Mthathwa says he will intervene at Cricket SA. Photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Mthethwa slams Williams and says he will intervene at Cricket SA

By Stuart Hess Time of article published Oct 14, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - Cricket South Africa incurred the wrath of Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa when its acting president, Beresford Williams, wrote to the minister telling him he had no right to intervene in Cricket SA’s affairs.

Williams’s letter, dated October 9, refers to a meeting CSA’s Board held with Mthethwa three days earlier, where the minister asked that the Board step aside so that Sascoc’s plans for a task team to investigate the administrative problems at CSA, can conduct its work.

In a furious response from Mthethwa, sent to Williams on Monday, he reminds Williams that in accordance with the National Sport and Recreation Act of 1998, he in fact has the authority to act against federations.

“I want to point out that my role as Minister responsible for Sport, Arts and Culture, involves ensuring that the existing sports dispute-handling machinery is invoked in terms of Sascoc’s mandate, whenever it appears that certain of their affiliates are bringing their sport into disrepute,” Mthethwa wrote.

On Wednesday Mthethwa’s office said it would intervene at CSA and gave the federation until October 27, to tell him why it shouldn’t. Among the powers available to him in terms of the Act is to call on president Cyril Ramaphosa to establish a commission of inquiry into CSA and its affairs.

In Monday’s letter to Williams, Mthethwa reminds CSA that it wasn’t that long ago that the government created a commission of inquiry regarding SA cricket.

“May I remind you that the government, at great expense to itself, initiated the Nicholson Commission to assist CSA with its shortcomings in governance, with some of the recommendations still to be implemented,” Mthethwa states. “At that point, same as we are doing currently, government was not accused of interference even by the ICC you appear to be threatening us about.”

Williams, fingered at least twice in Fundudzi’s forensic report, including for his role as part of the selection committee that appointed Thabang Moroe as CEO, even though Moroe didn’t have the requisite qualifications, had taken issue with Mthethwa’s support for Sascoc, in particular the minister's call that he and other CSA Board members step down.

Beresford Williams, CSA Acting President. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

“We confirm that, during the course of Tuesday’s (October 6) meeting, you told the CSA representatives that you require the members of the CSA Board to “step down”, which we understand to mean that you want the members of the CSA Board voluntarily to relinquish office and to cease exercising their functions as directors of CSA,” said Williams

“The members of the CSA Board have now had an opportunity to consider your request that they “step down”. Each one of them is of the view that he / she will not “step down” unless duly removed from office in accordance with the applicable provisions of CSA’s memorandum of incorporation. They are of the view (and have been advised) that you do not have power, in terms of the National Sport and Recreation Act 110 of 1998, to require members of the CSA Board to “step down”.

Furthermore, we are of the view that such a requirement probably constitutes government interference in CSA’s governance, regulation and / or administration, as contemplated in the memorandum of association of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and, as such, interferes with CSA’s contractual obligations to the ICC and jeopardises CSA’s continued membership of the ICC.”

“In the circumstances, we are constrained to notify you respectfully that the members of the CSA Board will not comply with your request that they “step down”. Nevertheless, we emphasise that we remain committed to addressing and remedying the problems that have been identified in the management and operations of CSA,” Williams added.

In his reply, to that particular assessment, Mthethwa wrote: “My recollection of what I said, at the meeting, was that, I “agree” with the Sascoc requirement to the effect that the CSA Board should step down and make room for a Task Team to be appointed.”

The ICC said Wednesday it was monitoring the situation saying it “encouraged,” its affiliates to resolve matters with their governments. The players union, the SA Cricketers Association, demanded that CSA’s current board of directors, step down.

“As we have stated previously, CSA is not able to self-correct, and the intervention of Government is further evidence of this,” said Saca’s president, Omphile Ramela.

Mthethwa outlined seven reasons for getting involved in CSA’s “leadership lapses,” including; that CSA has an “unstable Board,” public complaints from Saca, former players and previous board members, the composition of senior staff and the bungled handling of the forensic audit report.

“As a parting shot, I wish to reiterate that I shall not be dissuaded from applying what the National Sport and Recreation Act 110 of 1998 enjoins me to do,” Mthethwa concludes.

@shockerhess

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