The seed in the rift involving some of the most powerful figures at Cricket South Africa (CSA), which ended with this week’s exit from the chief executive position by Haroon Lorgat, was planted nearly a year ago, Independent Newspapers understands.
In December last year, a grievance was brought to the board by the company’s Chief Financial Officer, Naasei Appiah, who alleged that there was a lack of transformation within the CSA workplace.
While the Proteas’ numbers on the field have come under much scrutiny, the grievance laid by Appiah was one which pointed the finger of blame squarely at the man in charge of the whole operation, and may have been as much of a contributing factor to this week’s parting of ways as the lack of much-publicised broadcasting deal.
Extensive interviews were conducted with employees, quizzing them about their interactions with their management staff, and whether or not they felt that there was enough transformation in a workplace that is an advocate for fair representation on all its public platforms.
“The Board is well aware of the grievance that was lodged by the CFO,” CSA President Chris Nenzani confirmed on Saturday.
“The matter was handled by an independent panel of mediators, and a prudent report was received by the board,” Nenzani continued.
Since the Gerald Majola era, Cricket South Africa has gone to great lengths to be seen as an equal opportunities company, especially given the sensitive topic of quotas in the very market that they operate.
The results of the independent panel’s inquiry are yet to be relayed to staff, but it appears that the findings were not conclusive enough to dismiss Lorgat solely on a lack of transformation in his offices.
The delicate and personal nature of the grievance may have been the decisive blow in the breakdown of the relationship between the pair, which saw Lorgat increasingly working independently of his chief financial ally.
Now, as the start of the T20 Global League looms ever larger on the horizon, the broadcasting rights’ deal will be handled by the acting CEO, Thabang Moroe.
“We are confident that this process will be completed successfully, shortly,” Nenzani said of a deal that threatens to derail CSA’s best-laid plans and embarrass the organisation if it is not put to bed soon.
The broadcasting deal was meant to free South African cricket from the shackles of depending on lucrative incoming tours involving increasingly-reluctant dance partners like India, but now CSA may have to go back to SuperSport and repair a bridge that was very nearly blown apart.
Nenzani, however, denied that relations with SuperSport had got to an acrimonious stage.
“We have had a good relationship with SuperSport for many years now and we are confident it will remain healthy and constructive. This relationship is extremely important to CSA.”
Nenzani also reiterated that the owners of the T20 Global League franchises were fully aware of the decision to part ways with Lorgat, even before it was publicised, and that they all remain on board.
“The Board understands the value that the owners bring to the T20 Global League. Subsequently, the Board took the owners into its confidence, and shared its decision and rationale with them,” he explained.
“The owners conveyed a single message; that they are committed to the organisation and that they will work with CSA to ensure that the T20 Global League is a success.”