Nathi Mthethwa gives CSA presidents one last chance, while players blast administrators
JOHANNESBURG – Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa has asked CSA’s Members Council to reply to him by 5pm on Tuesday, explaining why he should not invoke his powers to suspend their funding from government and ban them as the sport’s governing authority in the country.
The Members Council – CSA’s most powerful decision-making body, comprising the 14 provincial presidents - met late Monday evening to consider Mthethwa’s demand. Monday’s meeting followed a more than three hour meeting on Sunday night, in which the Council also considered Mthethwa’s decision to invoke his powers under the National Sports and Recreation Act.
No decision was taken on Sunday, with the presidents opting to go back to their affiliates. The chairman of the Members Council, Rihan Richards described the matter as “very, very sensitive.” “There are a lot of factors that need to be considered, and those could be different for different members,” Richards added.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s cricketers apologised to the sport’s sponsors for the actions of Cricket SA’s Administrators, saying officials have “undermined and betrayed your commitment to the sport.”
In a statement released through the SA Cricketers Association - the players union - and signed by its president, Khaya Zondo, and the three Proteas captains; Dane van Niekerk, Dean Elgar and Temba Bavuma, the players also admonished CSA’s Members Council, for not acting in the best interests of the sport in the country.
Players around the country are understood to be very concerned following Sunday’s pronouncement by Mthethwa that he could ban CSA as the official governing entity for the sport, thus jeopardising the players ’opportunity to represent the country. Should Mthethwa’s moves be deemed as interference, the International Cricket Council could ban CSA, putting in jeopardy tours and the men’s team’s participation in the T20 World Cup later this year.
Monday evening’s statement by the players outlines how government intervention would have “dire consequences,” for cricket. “Ultimately the financial viability of the game will suffer and cricket at all levels will be severely prejudiced,” the players said.
In his letter to the Members Council, Mthethwa also outlined that he was extending the mandate of the Interim Board, until May 17. That is the second extension granted to the IB, which was originally set to complete its mandate by February, but was then given until mid-April to do so.
Following Saturday’s Special General Meeting where a vote to implement a new Memorandum of Incorporation failed, Mthethwa announced Sunday that he was invoking his powers under the Act.
That vote, held in secret after a request by Eastern Province president Donovan May, who got backing from Daniel Govender (KZN), John Mogodi (Limpopo), Gibson Molale (NC) and Simphiwe Ndzundzu (Border), failed to get the 75% majority needed to pass the motion to allow the MOI to be implemented.
The SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee, through its president Barry Hendricks on Saturday told CSA it would be in breach of Sascoc’s constitution if it didn’t allow the Olympic body to review the MOI before instituting it. Hendricks, who was only supposed to attend the meeting as an observer, but was asked to address the meeting by May, was later admonished by Mthethwa.
The Sports Minister reminded Hendricks that Sascoc had last September handed back the CSA matter to his office to deal with, because it didn’t have sufficient funds to fight what it expected would be a legal battle with CSA in the courts.
One section of the Members Council – in favour of the changes to the MOI, which would lead to a majority of independents on the new board – have been left flabbergasted by the stance of their colleagues. One provincial president, speaking on condition of anonymity said: “There is no way of getting away from it, having a majority of non-independents on the board has put South African cricket in the position where it was facing all these scandals. The crisis’s have resulted from that, and you can prove it. It’s maybe the time to try something new.”