Cricket SA confirms receiving sports minister Nathi Mthethwa’s letter as the screws tighten

Beresford Williams during the Women's Super League launch at Protea Marriot Breakwater on December 13, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Beresford Williams during the Women's Super League launch at Protea Marriot Breakwater on December 13, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Image: Bertram Malgas/Gallo Images

Cricket South Africa's (CSA) acting president Beresford Williams has confirmed receiving sports minister Nathi Mthethwa’s letter signalling his intention to intervene in the crisis-riddled organisation.

Mthethwa has also informed the International Cricket Council (ICC) that he intends to step into the fray and Williams told TimesLIVE the CSA board would formulate a response.

The sports minister gave the embattled organisation until October 27 to respond to the letter that came just days after CSA had two bruising meetings with the parliamentary sports portfolio committee.

Article 13 (5) (i) of the national sport and recreation act of 1998 allows the minister to intervene in a sporting body’s matter if there is a dispute‚ alleged mismanagement or any other matter in sport or recreation that is likely to bring a sport or recreational activity into disrepute.

“I’ve just got it now and I’ll respond to you. I haven’t spoken to the minister at all and the minister has sent a letter and I’ve received that letter.

"CSA need to respond to it and I need to send it to the board members. I also need to apply my mind as to how I’m going to respond‚” Williams said.

“I can’t speak on my own. It’s an intervention and the whole board is affected. We’ll get back to you on the matter and we’ll have a response.”

Mthethwa said in the original statement sent out on Wednesday morning that he saw no value in engaging CSA any further.

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

How the ICC‚ who have already been approached by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) and the Institute for Race Relations with regards to CSA’s inability to govern itself properly‚ will react to planned government intervention remains to be seen.

Article 2.4 (D) of the ICC constitution stipulates that each member must at all times: “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)”

This particular rule may have emboldened CSA to act as belligerently as it has against Sascoc.

Neighbours Zimbabwe was last year suspended by the ICC for contravening article 2.4 C and D of the ICC constitution. Whether the same will be done to South Africa‚ who has far more staying and cricket power as their neighbours remains to be seen.

TimesLIVE reported last month that the ICC was following matters in South Africa closely and CSA could be a topic of debate at the governing body’s next scheduled meeting.