News 26th April 2021

Cricket South Africa claims to have averted government action

Cricket South Africa (CSA) claims to have averted government action suspending its role to govern the game, due to its failure to appoint an independent governance structure. Nathi Mthethwa, South Africa’s Minister for Sport, considers that the majority of CSA Board members should be independent, and that CSA should be led by an independent President. However the country’s Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) disagrees with his interpretation.

‘The Members’ Council and the Interim Board of Cricket South Africa met today to deal with all outstanding issues related to amending CSA’s Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI)’, read a CSA statement. ‘The Members’ Council and the Board are very pleased to announce that a crisis has been averted and agreement has been reached on all those outstanding issues. This agreement will now trigger an expedited process to adopt the MOI in terms of the Companies Act (s60) within 48 hours. By reaching this agreement, cricket in South Africa has adopted a governance model which is best practice both in South Africa and internationally.’

On 18 April, Mthethwa expressed his ‘disappointment’ at CSA’s failure to adopt the revised MOI, and threatened to invoke Article s13(5) of South Africa’s Sports Act. This allows the Minister of Sport to direct Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) to withdraw funding if a sporting body fails to implement a Directive.

However, SASCOC argues that Mthethwa has misinterpreted the Act. ‘The “directive of the Minister” as referred to in Section 13 of the Act by the Minister and the subsequent adherence of the Interim Board, is that the majority of board members must be independent members and that the president of CSA must be an independent as well’, read a statement. ‘The Minister invokes the Nicholson Report in this regard. 

‘Lest we forget, in 2012 when the Nicholson report was released, the SASCOC board, specifically rejected recommendation 357 of the report, that stated that the CSA board should consist of a majority of independent board members. The SASCOC rational was very simple, Cricket must be governed and led by Cricket people, with the assistance from specialist independents. Through discussions with the Department of Sport and Recreation and the then Minister, Honourable Mbalula, this principle was accepted and agreed.’

The Nicholson Report was published in 2012, following allegations of malpractice in South African cricket, and made a number of recommendations, including that the CSA Board and President must be independent. In March, the CSA Members Council rejected this recommendation with the support of SASCOC.

CSA said that it has not made its new MOI public, but has shared it with SASCOC and cricket stakeholders. The Sports Integrity Initiative has asked SRSA if it accepts CSA’s new MOI. 

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