A new year brings new challenges for the interim board of Cricket South Africa with arrangements for the Australian Test tour needing to be made and a new structure for the organisation now being considered by the directors.
Judge Zak Yacoob, the chairman of the interim board, said on Thursday that he was confident the incoming tour by Australia would take place, although he did let slip that it was now expected to take place only in April.
“The Australia tour will go ahead at this stage,” Yacoob said.
“A week ago I had a chat with the head of Cricket Australia and we agreed that we would make sure the facilities are as good as necessary. Not that we did anything wrong when England were here because none of their players were affected by Covid, but our learnings on this virus changes all the time. It is unpredictable.
“But we both have doctors and other experts who will lead us through and if they say our facilities are fine then I have no doubt that the tour will go ahead, unless things take a real turn for the worse.
“But cricket fans must know that if they comply with all the precautions then they are not only doing it for themselves but doing it in the interests of cricket. I know we are looking at April.”
The interim board’s term of office expires on February 15 and Yacoob said their focus in the next three weeks would be on formulating a new structure for the board.
“Our most important consideration now is how to change the structure of CSA to ensure it works better, and that is an independent process because we have no intention of being on any future CSA board,” Yacoob said.
“The main objective is to ensure that the memorandum of incorporation (MOI) and the board charter are changed in accordance with the Nicholson recommendations, i.e. the need for an independent board.
“We are trying to work through what the power of the members council should be and the one conclusion is that we cannot have two centres of power.
“We have decided it would be preferable for the board to be in control of day-to-day operational matters. If the directors are independent then they will have no personal interest in the decisions taken.”
While one former director – Omphile Ramela, the previous president of the players’ union – has launched court action to overturn his removal from the board, another – former Easterns president Xolani Vonya – has been reinstated as a director.
The move seems part of a more conciliatory tone towards the members council.
“Mr Vonya is back because the board decided that may be better,” Yacoob said.
“Some of the reasons for his removal were not fully justified, Easterns did not fully justify their very serious allegations against him. On balance, we had a rethink and decided to be more generous towards him.
“We have not yet really engaged the members council on the new MOI and I suspect there will be a difference of opinion, which is justifiable. An independent board does reduce the power of the members council but I am certain they will operate in good faith. There will be genuine and bona fide debate over how independent the board should be.
“One can get carried away and get people who know nothing about the game and you obviously need to avoid that. The members council have to appoint us again and if they don’t approve us again then off we go on February 15 unless the minister of sport does something.
“We would have to tell the minister that we have not finished our work, but I personally would not implore him to intervene. He must make an objective decision.”