Cricket SA's member’s council insists they are not trying to pick a fight with sports minister Mthethwa

Minister of Sport, arts and culture Nathi Mthethwa.
Minister of Sport, arts and culture Nathi Mthethwa.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Cricket South Africa’s acting member’s council president Rihan Richards says they are not trying to pick a fight with sports minister Nathi Mthethwa after the sport was plunged into fresh chaos following the removal of the interim board on Thursday.

The nine-person interim board was appointed by Mthethwa on October 30 but in a dramatic turn of events on Thursday‚ CSA members' council dismissed all of them for “overstepping and disregarding agreed-upon duties‚ responsibilities and lines of accountability”.

Richards said the member's council‚ the sports body's highest decision-making body‚ was not in a position to pre-empt Mthethwa’s response and the decision was taken after a breakdown in relations made things impossible between the parties.

“We’re not in conflict with the minister‚ but there’s now a misalignment between the parties of the roles‚ responsibilities and authorities in each of these.

"We are mindful of the rights granted to the minister in terms of the act but we are also reminded of our responsibility to the cricket public in general‚ but also in relation to the ICC’s requirements.

"It is a concern‚ but I’m sure these matters‚ once the minister brings out his statement‚ we will address it directly to us. We’ll take the matters seriously and we’ll consider our position‚” Richards said.

“We’re making it very clear that these people were never appointed by the companies act‚ the memorandum of incorporation (MoI) or anything. In our opinion‚ they don’t have standing within CSA. As to the role they’ll be playing‚ I’ll just be speculating but we’ve not confirmed their appointment as CSA’s directors.

"There’s a small board that’s ensuring that things are running. We’ve always acted in good faith in my opinion. Appointments are confirmed by the member’s council when they are done to their satisfaction. We’ve never acted outside of the MoI.”

A major bone of contention between the board and the member’s council was the appointment of former CSA chief executive officer Haroon Lorgat to the board. Richards said they only knew about the persons on the board when they were presented to them on October 30 at the announcement in Pretoria.

In the statement Richards read out before a virtual press conference held on Thursday‚ the non-resolution of conflicts of interest pertaining to Lorgat weren’t resolved to the council’s satisfaction. Richards wouldn’t hint at whether board chairman’s Zac Yacoob’s decision was unilateral‚ but he felt the council’s wishes weren’t adequately addressed.

“I wouldn’t want to venture as far and say his decision was unilateral‚ it was the response that almost became prescriptive and almost a demand that we either appoint all as a collective and not by addressing our concerns. That was the major breakdown in our relationship‚” Richards said.

“It’s the matter of how our concerns are addressed‚ but also the manner in which attitudes are displayed when we raise our matters. I believe we’ve raised them in a very appropriate manner. I want to categorically state that we’d raised conflict of interest matters with other persons within that interim committee. All the parties were in agreement‚” Richards said.

Richards said their decision wasn’t based on protecting the interests of the member’s council‚ but based on what is best for the organisation.

“Our decision is not based on self-interest‚ or to protect any of ourselves. This is to ensure that cricket is run by cricket and that isn’t against the Nicholson recommendations.

"If you look at the proposals that we have submitted and we’re ready to submit‚ the revised MoI clearly defines the role between Nicholson and our board‚ greater separation between the two spheres needs to occur and we’re mindful of that. This is not about the member’s council.

"The views from all were solicited. It’s not about the presidents on the member’s council‚” Richards said.