Judging by the antics of the Members Council at Saturday’s Cricket South Africa AGM, local cricket fans can thank their lucky stars that there is now a predominantly independent Board that has been put in place to oversee the strategy and vision of the embattled organisation going forward.
In between clowning around in a meeting that has serious consequences for South African cricket and subverting the democratic process by trying to elect people by consensus rather than putting everything to a vote, the Members Council did also manage to object to one of the independent directors named by the Nominations Panel.
Advocate Norman Arendse can be an enormously controversial, divisive figure as he has shown in previous stints on the CSA board, and the Members Council were unanimous in their unhappiness with his appointment.
Newly-elected CSA Members Council president Rihan Richards was vague about just why they objected to Arendse, other than to say he was the lead independent director when dismissed CEO Thabang Moroe was appointed and he has made derogatory utterances about CSA in his time off the board.
The Nominations Panel agreed to reconsider Arendse’s appointment, but according to Dr Stavros Nicolaou, the chairman of the Interim Board, they can consider input from stakeholders but can pretty much appoint who they like as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.
The seven independent directors that were confirmed on Saturday are Advocate Steven Budlender, a self-described cricket obsessive; former Proteas batsman and convenor of selectors Andrew Hudson; Simo Lushaba, who has a doctorate in Business Administration and has extensive experience on several boards; governance expert Lawson Naidoo, the executive secretary of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution; Andisa Ntsubane, a marketing and communications expert whose face is well-known in cricket circles through his work with major sponsors; former MultiChoice CEO Mark Rayner and Ntombi Ravele, a seasoned sports administrator who was involved in boxing, netball and tennis.
Ravele is the only woman on the board because the Members Council could not find it in their hearts or resolve to follow through on their oft-spoken belief in gender equality as they elected Border president Simphiwe Ndzundzu, who has been accused of breaking a woman’s arm with a knobkerrie when he went to a colleague’s house and attacked him and his elderly mother, ahead of Central Gauteng Lions president Anne Vilas.
Ndzundzu, head of a province whose financial situation is almost as disastrous as their on-field performance, and Vilas, in charge of arguably the most successful union in the country, found themselves tied for the fifth non-independent director’s position.
Ndzundzu has also accused Vilas of being racist when she raised the allegations of his gender violence.
The four other non-independent directors elected are Daniel Govender (KZN), John Mogodi (Limpopo), Craig Nel (Mpumalanga) and Tebogo Siko (Northerns).
Interestingly, neither Richards nor Donovan May of Eastern Province, who was elected vice-president of the Members Council, made themselves available for the Board.
While Richards said this was “to ensure clear separation between the Members Council and the Board”, history suggests one will find it is merely an arrangement to ensure seven Members Council representatives share the gravy instead of just five.