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Moroe remains suspended despite returning to ‘work’

Moroe remains suspended despite returning to ‘work’
Thabang Moroe, CEO of Cricket South Africa. (Photo: Sydney Seshibedi / Gallo Images)

Despite a cheap publicity stunt, Cricket South Africa chief executive Thabang Moroe remains suspended until a forensic audit into his and the organisation’s conduct is finalised.

Thabang Moroe, who was suspended by the Cricket South Africa Board for alleged misconduct in December 2019 after a catalogue of calamitous leadership decisions, arrived at CSA’s Johannesburg offices on Thursday, apparently reporting for work. Presumably he forgot that the offices were closed due to a certain global pandemic that has been mentioned in the media recently.

Undeterred, an unmasked Moroe stepped from his vehicle at the gates of the precinct that houses CSA’s offices, and had a picture taken by a journalist who happened to be there at precisely that moment. How fortunate for both. The picture was then posted on social media where it was lapped up.

It forced the CSA board to respond minutes before midnight on Thursday after an emergency meeting that lasted as long as Faf du Plessis’ epic innings in Australia several years ago.

The bulk of the same board that were complicit in Moroe’s unchecked abuse of power took hours on Thursday to come up with, “Mr Moroe remains suspended”.

“The board wishes to clarify that the Chief Executive Officer (Moroe) was suspended in December 2019 pending the outcome of an independent forensic investigation into management practices at Cricket South Africa,” a statement from the CSA board read. 

“The letter of suspension issued to the Chief Executive Officer explicitly stated that he was suspended until the conclusion of the independent forensic investigation. This investigation is not yet complete and therefore the Chief Executive Officer remains suspended and any assertion that his suspension was for a predetermined period is without basis.

“The forensic investigators have indicated that their report is imminent. Once the board receives the report, the board will study the report and if disciplinary action against the Chief Executive Officer (or anyone else) is required to be taken, the board will move swiftly to institute such disciplinary action so that the matter will be resolved as soon as possible.”

After Moroe was suspended on 6 December 2019, Jacques Faul was appointed as acting chief executive for a period of six months. The original time frame has expired but CSA asked him to stay on for longer.

An independent forensic audit into the state of CSA was instituted shortly after Moroe’s suspension has taken longer than expected to complete, which was compounded by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The bulk of the culpable board has not resigned en masse for its part in steering CSA to a projected R654-million loss by 2022. It has taken zero collective responsibility for the deep financial and governance crisis CSA is in, and stood by while Moroe and president Chris Nenzani ran CSA as a personal fiefdom.

The sedate rate of this investigation has raised the ire of the South African Cricketers’ Association (Saca). Saca recently dropped court action against CSA following Moroe’s decision to restructure the domestic game in late 2018 without consulting Saca. That decision was reversed following the recommendations of a steering committee review chaired by former International Cricket Council chairman Dave Richardson.

For a few months, with Faul mending relations with the CSA’s most vital stakeholders including Saca, it seemed the organisation was getting back on track. But events in the past week, which included Saca’s questioning of the glacial pace of the forensic audit, the corporate governance challenges CSA faces are still evident.

“It has been reported in the media that CSA is ‘nowhere near’ finalising the matter, and this defies belief,” Saca CEO Andrew Breetzke said this week. 

“It appears as if the Covid-19 pandemic is being used as a convenient excuse for the delay, in spite of the fact that CSA is operationally fully functional at the moment. There appears to be a distinct lack of will at board level to deal with this matter, despite the dire need for finality on this material issue for all stakeholders in cricket. It is interesting to note that there were no such delays in dealing with the numerous other CSA disciplinary matters.

“CSA will point to the forensic audit that has not yet been completed, despite the fact that the crises that have enveloped CSA over the past 18 months are evidence of a prima facie case against Moroe.

“It is hard to imagine another professional environment where such vacillation on a matter of such importance would be tolerated by a board of directors.”

Saca President Omphile Ramela added: “CSA desperately needs to regain the confidence of the players, public, broadcasters and sponsors, particularly with respect to matters of governance – its failure to bring this matter to a conclusion undermines its efforts in this regard.”

CSA indicated that they will have an outcome of the forensic audit by the end of June. For now, Moroe won’t be required at the office regardless of his apparent eagerness to return. So, he will have to distract himself in other ways while continuing to collect a reported R350,000 a month salary while he waits. DM

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