Nathi Mthethwa threatens to take over running of CSA

Nathi Mthethwa threatens to take over running of CSA
Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa. (Photo: Flickr / GCIS)

Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa has had enough of Cricket South Africa and has issued a formal notice to intervene in the sport’s running.

Fresh from a four-hour peppering at a Parliamentary Sports Committee meeting on Tuesday, Cricket South Africa (CSA) suits woke up on Wednesday, to the news that heavy artillery was approaching.

Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa released a statement saying he had issued a “Notice of Government Intervention” to CSA. The reasons were not specific and it was unclear what exactly CSA needed to do, to avoid the “notice” becoming an “actual” intervention. Queries to the minister’s office were not immediately answered. 

CSA had also not responded at the time of publishing.

Mthethwa’s statement is unsurprising given that he personally met with CSA’s leadership on two occasions recently to address their governance failings.

Last month the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc), the country’s sporting umbrella body, issued a notice that it would set up a task team to investigate CSA, demanding that the sports body stand down.

Sascoc also demanded full access to the Fundudzi forensic report, which investigated governance issues at CSA. On both counts CSA resisted and would not cooperate.

“Having evaluated the discussions as well as the subsequent reporting on this matter, I have now reached a point where I see no value in any further engagement with CSA,” Mthethwa said in the statement.

The statement further said: “Efforts have been made over several months to try and assist CSA to stabilise its governance matters. This, after a huge outcry regarding the failure of its leadership to effectively manage its affairs.

“When the Sascoc initiative yielded no positive results, the minister personally held several meetings with the CSA Board and also met with the Members’ Council. Similarly, further engagements have been held between Sascoc and the parliamentary portfolio committee, also with negative outcomes.

“Minister Mthethwa strongly believes that there is great merit in creating an environment where sports problems are handled within the sports movement and accordingly wishes to offer them every possible opportunity to demonstrate their stated commitment to cooperate on a way forward for cricket.”

ICC informed

Mthethwa’s intentions have been relayed to the International Cricket Council (ICC). CSA are in danger of breaching the code of conduct which states clearly that government intervention is a breach, which could result in suspension. 

Clause 2.4 (D) of the ICC constitution states: “The Member must manage its affairs autonomously and ensure that there is no government (or other public or quasi-public body) interference in its governance, regulation and/or administration of Cricket in its Cricket Playing Country (including in operational matters, in the selection and management of teams, and in the appointment of coaches or support personnel).” 

The ICC issued a short statement recognising events at CSA.

“The ICC has received a letter from the Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture in South Africa giving notice of potential intervention into the matters of Cricket South Africa. At this stage, no complaint has been received from Cricket South Africa regarding government intervention and Members are encouraged to resolve matters directly with their governments. We will continue to monitor the situation.”

If Mthethwa does intervene in CSA affairs, he will do it under the National Sport and Recreation Act.

The act does not specifically allow the government to take full control of a sporting body, but it gives the minister the ultimate power to not recognise that body and to cut its funding. That essentially means, in this case, the Proteas would cease to be the South Africa’s national team.

Steps outlined in the act require Sascoc to intervene: only if it fails to resolve the issue “in a reasonable time”, will the minister step in. That has clearly happened.

In terms of the act, the minister may not “interfere in matters relating to the selection of teams, administration of sport, and appointment of, and termination of the service of, the executive members of the sport or recreation body”.

But he is empowered to “notify the national federation in writing that it will not be recognised by Sport and Recreation South Africa”.

Saca demand CSA board resigns

For the second time in a year the South African Cricketers’ Association (Saca) has demanded the CSA board stand down. 

Saca believes that an interim board of directors should be established to stabilise the organisation and that it must include a Saca player’s representative as well as a representative from the remaining stakeholders in the game (sponsors and broadcasters).

Saca’s plea is that the interim board should also appoint an experienced administrator to assist in the operational work that is required at CSA, ensuring a link between the interim board and operational staff.

“Cricket is in an existential crisis, and the intervention of [the] government will result in the ICC reviewing CSA’s position as an ICC Member, and will furthermore jeopardise the England Tour scheduled for next month,” Saca CEO Andrew Breetzke said in a statement. 

“Players will suffer, development will suffer and the future of the game will be prejudiced. However, as has been recognised by the Minister and Sascoc, the current board has no credibility to resolve the crises, and it is clear that the current impasse between government and CSA will not be resolved until such time as the board stands down.

“We therefore implore the CSA Board to stand down and thereby take a decision that will be in the best interests of cricket.”

Saca president Omphile Ramela added: “As we have stated previously, CSA is not able to self-correct, and the intervention of [the] government is further evidence of this.

“The current governance structure of CSA must be reviewed, and this has been acknowledged by CSA. The interim board must facilitate the implementation of the Nicholson Recommendations through amendments to the Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI), as this will allow for an effective board of directors to ultimately take over the responsibility of the governance of the game.

“The Fundudzi Forensic Report has identified various failures in governance, failures that have consistently been highlighted by Saca, and this is the opportunity to remedy these for the sake of the game and ensure that experienced personnel are recruited into key executive positions.” DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Colette Hinton says:

    What a travesty! And what a tragedy for the young South Africans who have put their hearts and souls into the game. We will basically have no national team either.

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