There was a deafening silence from the Cricket South Africa (CSA) board after suspended CEO Thabang Moroe returned to the federation’s Melrose Estate offices on Thursday in an apparent display of defiance.
Moroe arrived at CSA headquarters to report for duty on Thursday morning and was photographed outside the gate by a radio reporter who apparently just happened to be passing by.
Moroe’s lawyer, Michael Bill, was quoted by IOL as saying his suspension, which had been in place from December 6, was valid only for six months and he was honouring his contractual obligations by showing up for work.
CSA staff were all working remotely, however, and Moroe was denied access to the closed premises in Melrose Estate.
The move certainly rattled the CSA board, who said they would issue a statement later in the day, but by 9pm on Thursday night, nothing was forthcoming.
Earlier this week the CSA board was slammed by the South African Cricketers’ Association – the players’ union – for their tardiness in making any progress on Moroe’s disciplinary hearing. The board was accused of lacking the will to take action against him.
CSA president Chris Nenzani had been heard from only once in recent times, when he issued a statement saying the board had not yet agreed who to back for International Cricket Council chairperson, a position he was believed to want himself, despite CSA director of cricket Graeme Smith and acting CEO Jacques Faul publicly backing former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly.
With Moroe’s suspension possibly no longer being valid, Faul’s position had now been placed under threat. His initial contract expired this month and Faul confirmed he was employed by CSA on a month-to-month basis.
While Faul and Smith had placated the players’ union, sponsors and other stakeholders since taking charge of an organisation that was in freefall both on and off the field in December, Moroe was known to still have his supporters both within the CSA offices and on the board.
Bill believed Moroe’s suspension was contrary to CSA’s own procedures and labour law, and pointed out that there had been no disciplinary hearings, just “conversations”.
Members of the media who had their accreditation revoked by Moroe in December had since been interviewed by investigators and insiders at CSA had said a forensic audit of Moroe had brought up irregularities, but nothing further had been done to investigate the matter.