Cricket South Africa is in good health and the Board is staying put because of the great job they have been doing.
That was the message the organisation conveyed to members of the national squad in a virtual meeting late last week, according to a Proteas player who spoke to The Citizen on Monday on condition of anonymity.
According to acting CEO Kugandrie Govender, the portrayal of CSA as a sickly, embattled federation is disinformation and she blamed the media for their woes, which include financial worries, a governance crisis that has forced the Minister of Sport to step in, no fixtures confirmed yet for the Proteas this summer and a Board and executive that has been wracked by resignations and dismissals.
Minister of Sport Nathi Mthethwa has been adamant that the Board should step aside and allow Sascoc to set up an interim board, with particular focus on the Fundudzi Forensic Report and implementing the recommendations of the Nicholson Commission from 2012. He has given CSA until October 27 to offer reasons in writing as to why he should not intervene.
CSA have given no response to Mthethwa’s damning statement from last week, but did try to reassure the players in a virtual meeting to which the players’ union were not invited.
“The Board were in on the call to us, and they said they are going nowhere. We were shocked,” the Protea said. “They were quite adamant about it. People like Temba Bavuma asked probing questions but Kugandrie just talked around it and didn’t answer our questions.”
CSA may have made a R50 million profit before taxation for the financial year ended April 30, according to their 2019/20 Annual Integrated Report, but their message to the players that they are in a stable financial position is based on several assumptions.
England may still arrive in South Africa in mid-November for six limited-overs matches which would bring in around R70 million for CSA, but there is no indication yet that government has approved that tour or that the scheduled tours by Sri Lanka and to Pakistan over December/January will happen. Australia are also meant to tour for a Test series at the end of the summer.
But the longer the current Board hangs on to power, and the governance scandals rumble on and on, the more damage is done to CSA’s credibilty and that has already had an effect on the bottom line with broadcasters, sponsors and supporters jumping ship.
It would seem CSA have relied on terrible legal advice from Bowmans – whose ties with CSA company secretary Welsh Gwaza, a former employee, are a concern – to bunker down and try and keep the forensic report they themselves commissioned as secret as possible.
While CSA’s directors may see themselves as corporate bigwigs not compelled to operate transparently, Mthethwa’s intervention is based strongly on CSA being a public entity, custodians of a sport that belongs to the public, and he can rely on broad support for his strong stance.