Statement of the Interim Board of CSA on the impasse with the Members’ Council

Statement of the Interim Board of CSA on the impasse with the Members’ Council

JOHANNESBURG: The Interim Board (IB) of Cricket South Africa (CSA) met on Wednesday evening, 24 March 2021, to discuss the current impasse regarding the amendment of CSA’s Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI) and, in particular, the Members’ Council’s refusal to accept the well-entrenched corporate governance principle of a majority independent Board.

The IB has updated Minister Nathi Mthethwa verbally and in writing and has reiterated the following non-negotiables, which formed part of the Minister’s mandate to the IB: the implementation of the 2013 Nicholson Report and a majority independent Board.

This of necessity means an independent Chair and a separation between the position of President of the Members’ Council and Board Chair. There can be no compromise or negotiation on these two fundamental principles, specifically given the 9 years of inaction since the Nicholson Report.

In November 2020, the Members’ Council appointed the IB and accepted the mandate provided by the Minister. In addition, in 3-a-side meetings between the IB and the Members’ Council, the principle of majority independence and separation of the chair and President was accepted.

The IB is,, therefore astonished and disappointed that the majority of the Members’ Council has made this last-minute about-turn in rejecting the principle of a majority independent Board. We commend those on the Members’ Council who were forward-thinking enough to vote in favour of a majority independent Board.

History has proven that the current governance structure within cricket is untenable and has been the cause of past maladministration and a lack of accountability. “One cannot continue with the same governance structure and expect a different outcome as regards good corporate governance,” commented the Chair of the IB, Dr. Stavros Nicolaou.

“A majority independent Board is a widely-held corporate governance principle both in South Africa and internationally. That the Members’ Council has reneged and now refuses to accept this principle is short-sighted and has yet again brought cricket administration to the brink of crisis.

“The brinkmanship, – which has become all too familiar – displayed by certain members of the Members’ Council, cannot be tolerated for much longer by the cricket-loving public. This is evidenced in the public reaction since the Members’ Council decision was communicated,” added Dr. Nicolaou.

The IB has written to the Acting President of the Members’ Council, Mr Rihan Richards, to ascertain the voting patterns of individual affiliate members. The IB has done so in the interests of transparency and for the benefit of all cricket’s stakeholders.

The IB has also been speaking directly to the Presidents of affiliate unions in an attempt to further clarify its position and what is at stake for the future of cricket. The IB has done so because it appears that some of the affiliate votes may not have been recorded accurately and/or there may have been some misunderstanding regarding the interpretation of certain principles including the principle of ‘independence’ of a future Board.

It must be noted that thus far the Members’ Council has been responsible for spending millions of Rands in legal fees in an attempt to stave off the amendment of the MOI and the principle of a majority independent Board as set out in the Nicholson Report.

“The IB does not believe the expenditure of millions of Rands on legal fees is justified and deems it wasteful expenditure. These millions could instead be used for much needed development and transformation of cricket,” said Dr. Nicolaou.

He went on to say that “the Members’ Council is seeking to engage in lawfare by defending the indefensible. It is nine years since the Nicholson Report. The time has now come for those recalcitrant affiliates on the Members’ Council to act in the best interests of cricket and find themselves on the right side of history.”

The IB has also noted the increased public pressure on the Members’ Council and has been speaking to stakeholders, especially commercial partners, who have indicated their discomfort with the latest stonewalling by the Members’ Council. There is widespread consternation amongst the cricketing public and specifically the players themselves. Their very livelihoods are at stake if CSA continues to flounder.

The IB resolved to continue its work and to ensure that it implements the Minister’s mandate on behalf of the people of South Africa.

The IB also received update reports on the Gwaza and Govender disciplinary hearings and noted that these matters were well in progress. The IB is committed to see these matters through to completion regardless of its term of appointment.