Cricket SA interim board wants high authority members council stripped of some of its powers

The Cricket South Africa office in Johannesburg.
The Cricket South Africa office in Johannesburg.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

The two centres of power at Cricket South Africa (CSA) that have become such a bone contention could be a thing of the past if the interim board has its way.

As things stand‚ CSA has two seats of power: the board‚ which is in charge of daily operations‚ formulation of polices and strategies‚ and the members council‚ the organisation’s highest decision-making body made up of presidents of the provincial unions that ratify all the major decisions taken by the board.

The power structure has been in place for a number of years but since the installation of the interim board in November‚ the arrangement has turned into a stinging nettle‚ with the temporary leadership refusing to account to CSA’s highest authority.

The temporary leadership is of the view that the two centres of power need to be dismantled with the board made the seat of authority‚ said CSA interim board chairperson retired justice Zak Yacoob on Thursday during a briefing to update the media and public of the work it is doing behind the scenes.

“I will start by saying the most important thing now for the interim board is how to change the structure of CSA in order to ensure that it works better.

“We have come to broad conclusions and the first is that you cannot have two centres of power in one organisation.

“The second is that our preference at the moment is for the board to be the centre of power in relation to day to day operational matters‚” said Yacoob.

“There should be a division between the board and the members council‚ and that is the route we should go.”

One of the key recommendations from the 2012 Nicholson Report was the amendment of the composition of the board to include more independent directors in order to ensure independence and objectivity in respect of matters relating to affiliate unions.

It remains to be seen which position the members council will take on the mooted radical restructuring.

The move will strip the CSA shareholders‚ who are the bosses of the provincial boards‚ of most of their powers.

Judge Yacoob said the members council has not been fully engaged on the matter yet and admitted that the new structure may take time to see the light of day as the CSA highest authority‚ which initially rejected the interim board‚ could resist the move.

“What I want to emphasise is that according to the MOI‚ as it currently is‚ if the members council refuses to agree to the change‚ then there may be some trouble and things may take a longer time.”

Yacoob said he has a suspicion that there will be a difference of opinions.

“You see‚ I’m quite sure that the members council itself wants to make sure that everything is done in the interest of cricket‚ but there can be really a genuine and justifiable difference of opinion about how independent the board should be.

“That obviously is going to be something we need to avoid‚ but the debate‚ I think‚ will be that how independent the board has to be.

“I have no doubt that the members council is not going to come to the negotiations with ulterior purposes.

“I think they will come in genuinely and that we will have a good debate‚ but the complication is that the independent board does in a sense result in a reduction of the powers of the members council is some ways.”

CSA acting president and chairperson of the members council Rihan Richards‚ who is the president of the Northern Cape Cricket‚ said the high authority is not sure of how exactly the interim board will carry out its proposed plans.

“I’m not sure what the interim board mean by that [scrapping two centres of power]‚ but we will engage them‚” said Richards.

But Richards said whatever the changes the members council‚ as the shareholder‚ cannot be left toothless.

“I cannot see how‚ in any company that has shareholders [ the members council are regarded as the CSA shareholder]‚ the shareholder can be marginalised in any way‚” said Richards.

“Look it is a bit difficult for me to comment broadly on this matter because it has a lot of complications.”

Some of the powers of the members council as things stand are to amend the MOI‚ change competition structures and the appointment and recalling of directors.

“Who will appoint the board of directors if the board is not accountable to the members council‚” asked Richards.

Currently‚ as per the MOI‚ the CSA power structure has inherent conflicts of interest as seven of the members of the council also sit on the board of directors.

“The question for me is how do we limit the conflict of interest that is currently inherent with the way the board and the members council are set up.

Sascoc‚ the mother body of all federations‚ previously balked at the recommendation‚ insisting that cricket needs to be administered in the main by cricket people.

The tenure of the interim board ends on February 15.

Their incorporation by the members council was for a period of three months and was signed on November 15.