Kevin McCallum

The attempted coup of the Gauteng Cricket Board by some disgruntled clubs at Gauteng cricket ended with a whimper on Wednesday night, but there was still some disagreement on whether the rebellion was an issue of race or power.

Hussein Manack, one of the five board members whose removal – along with Ray Mali – was demanded by the clubs, said yesterday that there was indeed an issue of race in the make-up of the clubs who had said the CSA administration foisted on the GCB was “illegitimate”.

“It’s essentially the white clubs who have signed this document to remove black directors,” said Manack. “It happened in January 2010 when six black directors were removed by white clubs. It also happened in 2005, when black directors were removed.”

It is understood that four or five “black” clubs had signed the document along with the “white” clubs asking for the removal of the five board members, but that three of those clubs had rescinded their support for the bid. There were also suggestions of bullying and manipulation, but Mali felt that power was at the root of the attempted revolution.

“Having been here for 21 months, I wouldn’t classify this whole thing as a racial issue at this point in time,” said Mali. “Simply because, the board is a mixed board that is representative of all the people in South Africa. The clubs that attended the meeting (Wednesday) was a wide spectrum of the community. It seemed a power struggle to me.”

Wednesday night’s meeting with stakeholders, including clubs both pro and against the new board, was, according to Cassim Docrat, the CEO of the GCB, a robust one, with “heated exchanges and arguments, but no-one walked out”.

“The issue has now been put to rest and we have set the way for any club or group of clubs with concerns to join us around a table and iron out differences. Although the legality of the Langa Commission has been challenged, we also need to ensure that any decision taken is in the best interest of the GCB and bear in mind that the terms of the Commission expire in August,” said Docrat.

“It has been unsettling to be faced with this situation after 21 months of smooth sailing and making big strides in the GCB but we have gone to all extent to get the parties talking and ensure that the work that still needs to be done, is completed.”

The timing of the rebellion and the attempt to remove Mali and the board members seems strange. It was flawed in terms of the percentage of votes required to effect change and the processes that need to be followed. The rebels could not clearly articulate why they had not raised concerns in the 21 months since the recommendations of the Langa Commission had been put in place. “The constitution is almost completed, there are just a few items that need to be ironed out,” said Docrat. “The voting rights are still being discussed and Oom Ray’s tenure comes to an end on August 31. The auditors will also be finished their work so the financials are available well before the annual general meeting.”