Sports minister Nathi Mthethwa has told the members council of Cricket South Africa (CSA) that they have left him with no choice but to invoke his powers in terms of section 13(5) of the Sports Act and suspend the crisis-riddled organisation.
This comes a day after the members council‚ which is made up of the 14 affiliates presidents‚ voted against amendments in the Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI) to allow for restructuring of the organisation’s administration and a majority independent board and an independent chairperson with no affiliate to cricket.
The members council is CSA’s highest decision-making body.
“Minister Mthethwa has expressed his disappointment at the failure of the CSA delegates to adopt the revised MOI‚” reads Mthethwa’s statement.
“The revised MOI that the affiliates decided against adopting‚ constituted an agreement between the CSA members council and the interim board.
“Accordingly‚ any failure to ratify such an agreement entered into by a duly authorised members council representative can only be interpreted as acting in bad faith.
“This turn of events‚ taking place at the back of several missed opportunities by the members council‚ has left the minister with no further option but to exercise his rights in terms of section 13(5) of the Sports Act.
“To this end‚ the minister will be taking the necessary steps required to exercise his rights in terms of the law prescripts next week.”
The CSA interim board‚ which was appointed by Mthethwa in October and incorporated in November‚ also released a statement and registered its disappointment.
“These proposed changes would be in line with the Nicholson Report and good corporate governance‚” reads the CSA interim board statement.
“The interim board has held, over the past few months, several consultative sessions with the members council.
“In addition‚ Professor Michael Katz has also consulted and provided legal advice to the members council on the proposed amendments.
“Disappointingly‚ the members council voted not to accept the amendments to the MOI which would have steered CSA on a new path and restored confidence with its stakeholders.
“Despite the interim board requesting transparency‚ the members council insisted on a secret ballot.” CSA interim board chairperson Dr Stavros Nicolaou was quoted as saying in the same statement:
“What happened today was extremely disappointing and certainly not in the best interests of cricket.
“A minority of the members’ council have yet again shown itself to place self-preservation ahead of the interests of the game and indeed‚ the national interest.
“This minority is determined to hold the game – and the country – hostage.
“It has been aided and abetted by Sascoc‚ whose intervention in the CSA SGM today was totally unacceptable and indeed appeared orchestrated‚” said Nicolaou.
He added: “Fortunately‚ members of the media were present at the SGM to ensure the public will be informed as to what happened today.”
Nicolaou went on to say that “the interim board is in discussion with the minister about the way forward for cricket in South Africa.”
The members council is also expected to release a statement of their own.
Under Section 13(5) of the Sports Act‚ the minister can direct his department to refrain from funding CSA and notify the organisation in writing that it will not be recognised by Sport and Recreation South Africa.