Cricket South Africa faces suspension by the Minister of Sport after Nathi Mthethwa rejected the Members Council’s plea for a seven-day extension to sort out their impasse with the Interim Board over the introduction of a majority independent board and independent chairperson.
Having given the Members Council until 5pm on Tuesday to show cause as to why he should not take action against them following their weekend failure to approve the Interim Board’s governance proposals, Mthethwa informed the provincial presidents on Tuesday night that he considered their response “to fall short of addressing the subject of showing cause why I should not apply the provisions of Section 13 (5) of the Sports Act based on your failure to implement a critical aspect of the mandate I gave the Interim Board”, according to a letter which The Citizen has seen.
The Sports Act allows for Mthethwa to withdraw government recognition of CSA, which would prevent them from participating in international cricket, thus surely leading to their suspension from the International Cricket Council and dooming the local game to amateur status.
There is clearly a massive gorge in opinion between what most observers believe are the minister’s powers and what the Members Council are banking on, because Mthethwa mentions “a lack of alignment with my interpretation of the powers provided to me by the Sports Act”.
Mthethwa points out that in his meeting with the Members Council and the Interim Board 10 days ago, there was agreement on the desirability of a majority independent board. He also mentions a letter the Members Council sent to the Interim Board saying the only remaining item for discussion was the definition of non-independent directors.
“Your proposal to convene a multi-party stakeholder conference to deal with a matter that you have been seized with for a number of months does not make sense to me. … I do not understand what would be achieved by a further seven-day extension when you were part of a conference that announced a roadmap that targeted April 17 as a completion date,” Mthethwa said.
The gorgeous irony is that several provinces are now rallying behind the lead of Gauteng and North-West, who called on the Members Council to approve the new constitution. But it is too little, too late.