Legal heavyweights Norman Arendse and Vusi Pikoli plead for action at CSA

Norman Arendse during the CSA Annual General Meeting at ORTIA Inter-Continental Hotel on September 08, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

Both men were independent directors at the embattled governing body recently and have criticised the board for lacking responsibility.

Following the South African Cricketers Association’s (Saca) plea earlier, Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) board has also been implored to act on the deepening rot at the federation by an unlikely source.

Former president Norman Arendse, himself no stranger to controversy during his tenure at the governing body between 2007 and 2008, on Monday evening distributed an open letter appealing to “our cricket family members, the CSA Board, the CSA Members’ Council and the paid CSA administrators to act before it is too late”.

He states that his sentiments are shared by former NPA head Vusi Pikoli, who was also an independent director at the governing body and past chairperson of CSA’s social and ethics committee.

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The legal heavyweight and veteran sports administrator, who made a return to the federation as its lead independent director in 2013 and stayed in the role for five years, noted all the ills plaguing CSA for the past months: the ongoing court battle with Saca; a “humiliating” arbitration loss to the Western Province Cricket Association; CSA chief Thabang Moroe’s centralisation of power; and the attempted muzzling of journalists.

“These issues are all well-documented and are public knowledge,” Arendse wrote.

Vusi Pikoli (CSA Board Member) during the Unveiling of Cricket South Africa Centre of Excellence at the High Performance Centre on April 15, 2013 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

“The last straw must surely be the most recent banning by CSA of several highly respected cricket journalists who collectively have decades of experience in cricket. (Some of them I have disagreed with both privately and publicly, but it never entered my mind to suggest or propose that they are banned from the game). Their banning is unconstitutional, and unlawful, and must be deplored by all cricket-lovers.”

He goes on to note CSA’s financial troubles, with the MSL draining rapidly draining the federation’s final reserves and believes Moroe “has also not inspired any confidence that he is capable of arresting CSA’s decline, let alone turning around the organisation to put it on a more secure and sustainable footing”.

Arendse is also scathing in his assessment of CSA head of communication, Thamie Mthembu, and his ability to be prudent.

“(His) utterances rank with those of Saddam Hussein’s spokesman “Baghdad Bob” or better known as “Comical Ali”.

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In the end, however, the 62-year-old comes to the crux of the matter: CSA itself should stand up and take responsibility.

“The CSA Board has simply abdicated its fiduciary responsibilities by failing to act with the due care, skill and diligence required of it by the Companies Act, and the CSA Constitution. To the extent that the CSA Members’ Council are aware of the abovementioned shortcomings and failures of governance, they too must share responsibility, and be held accountable.

“I, therefore, call on the Board and the Members’ Council to meet urgently to consider the matters raised in this letter, and to hold the CEO (and those who have been complicit) to account.”

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