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UNDER REVIEW

Cricket SA acting CEO suspended as interim board continues to excavate the rot

Cricket SA acting CEO suspended as interim board continues to excavate the rot
Cricket South Africa acting CEO Kugandrie Govender was suspended on Monday 14 December. (Photo: Lee Warren / Gallo Images)

Another high profile SA cricket administrator faces the sack – this time it’s acting Cricket South Africa CEO Kugandrie Govender, who was suspended on Monday.

The interim board of Cricket South Africa (CSA) continued its clean-up operation with pace and decisiveness as another high profile administrator was sidelined. 

Kugandrie Govender, who was until Monday the organisation’s acting chief executive officer, was put on gardening leave pending a disciplinary hearing. That hearing will only take place on 28 January 2021 and she remains on full pay until at least that date. 

She has been suspended for her role in several incidents where she acted inappropriately, according to evidence contained in the Fundudzi report, which investigated CSA’s management collapse over the past two years. 

The report has been a roadmap for the interim board to use as it attempts to fulfil its mandate to solve its failed corporate governance issues. It must be doing something right, because it is making enemies wherever it goes. 

Govender was the second member of CSA’s operational staff to be suspended in the past week. She followed company secretary Welsh Gwaza into a longer-than-expected festive season break.

“This notice sets out allegations of misconduct by Ms Govender while in the position as Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of CSA and while acting CEO,” a statement from the interim board read.

“The hearing is to take place on 28 January 2021, when Ms Govender will be allowed to answer the charges which have been brought against her. 

“The charges against Ms Govender relate to, inter alia,

(i) The role she played in the revocation of media accreditation of certain journalists in December 2019;

(ii) Various breaches of the provisions of the Companies Act as a prescribed officer of CSA; and

(iii) The role which she played in the dismissal of Mr Clive Eksteen, which CSA has now acknowledged (in terms of a settlement agreement with Mr Eksteen) was an unfair dismissal.” 

Current CSA chief financial officer Pholetsi Moseki will stand in as the leader of CSA’s executive management team over the summer. 

Gwaza disciplinary hearing postponed 

Two weeks ago, the board suspended Gwaza, who had quietly become CSA’s chief decision-maker. His fingerprints have been on many of the problems that have beset CSA over the past two years, but others were culled while he stayed in the shadows. 

The interim board, chaired by retired Constitutional Court justice Zak Yacoob, called him out. The speed and aggressiveness with which the interim board is fulfilling its mandate to clean up the sport has met with sniping. 

Gwaza’s disciplinary hearing was expected to be held on Monday, but it was postponed. Gwaza brought an application on Sunday requesting more time to mount a defence and the interim board has granted him that leeway. But Gwaza has forfeited his salary and will no longer be suspended on pay. 

Yacoob, by his own admission at several media briefings, upsets people with his swift and decisive action. Last week the interim board purged two of its own – Omphile Ramela and Xolani Vonya. Yacoob made public a 23-page “statement of reasons” outlining the events that led to the removal of the pair from the interim board.

This led to some factions in the fractured sport turning to social media to question Yacoob’s “authoritarian” style. 

Ousted former board member Eugenia Kula-Ameyaw took to social media over the weekend to question why the interim board was riding roughshod over the Companies Act. Although, reading the detailed outline of Ramela’s sacking, it appears obvious that the breaches of the Companies Act were perpetrated by Ramela. If anything, the interim board has been following the Companies Act to the letter. 

It was also instructive that Kula-Ameyaw held up the Companies Act as some sort of sacred document despite the fact that the Fundudzi report clearly highlights how the previous board acted in breach of the act on dozens of occasions. 

Even the interim board’s legitimacy has been questioned. But that is another red herring, as the interim board was formally appointed by CSA’s Members’ Council, the sport’s highest decision-making authority. 

Admittedly, the interim board was established by Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa, who put the Members’ Council under pressure to accept his ultimatum. But once the Members’ Council caved in and ratified the interim board, it legitimised their standing. 

Yacoob and the interim board is not there to win a popularity contest and it is succeeding. It is moving fast and with purpose. It has a three-month window to do its work and seems intent on keeping to the time frame. 

The result is that stonewalling and subterfuge are being brutally dealt with. And it’s causing panic across all levels of the organisation. 

Yacoob has said on more than one occasion that the Members’ Council has the right to dissolve the interim board, as it would have the right to dissolve a “normal” board. But after a month there appears to be no sign of the Members’ Council doing that. DM

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  • Chris 123 says:

    Where do these people come from?? Has the ANC exhausted all other looting schemes? None of these people even know which way round a bat goes!!!

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