Another day of drama at Cricket South Africa

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More woes for CSA chief, Thabang Moroe. Photo: Gallo Images.

On yet another dramatic day for South African cricket, Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) board yesterday belatedly acted on its governance meltdown by suspending chief executive officer Thabang Moroe.

In a letter sent to staff, the embattled decision-making group of the federation noted that it would do so on a “precautionary” basis after two separate reports – from its ethics committee and risk & audit committee – revealed alleged “serious misconduct”.

The allegations relate to a “possible failure of controls in the organisation”.

As a result, the board – who heeded calls from various quarters, including the South African Cricketers Association (Saca) and major sponsor Willowton Group – will “conduct a forensic audit of critical aspects of the business and the conduct of management related to such aspects shall be conducted by an independent forensic team”.

It also called on all relevant stakeholders “including sponsors, members of staff, players, volunteers and cricket fans to allow this process to unfold” and “will provide updates on this matter”.

One stakeholder that’s had enough is Standard Bank following its announcement that it will end its sponsorship of the men’s national cricket team on April 30, 2020.

“Standard Bank is committed to upholding the highest levels of leadership, integrity and governance. In light of recent developments at CSA, which are a culmination of long-standing problems which have damaged Standard Bank’s reputation, it has decided not to renew its partnership with CSA,” said spokesperson Thulani Sibeko.

That void will mean CSA’s dire financial state deteriorate further, with a four-year loss of R654 million having been projected earlier this year.

While CSA’s course of action is a step in a right direction, it’s unlikely that Saca in particular will be wholly satisfied.

The players’ union has called on the board itself to be disbanded as well, as it is believed to be complicit in Moroe’s controversial management of the federation.

“No one on the board can say that he, or she, was unaware of what has been unfolding over at least the last year. It has all been happening, in many respects even publicly, under the board’s very nose, and in some instances with board support,” said Saca chief Tony Irish.

Irish’s stance has been echoed by various other administrators, current and former, who argued Moroe was ultimately accountable to the board.

Nonetheless, Moroe’s suspension at least spared him the potential public disgrace of being voted out by CSA’s 14-province member’s forum, of which eight affiliates supported a motion of no confidence at a planned meeting yesterday.

Ironically, that motion was instigated by his home province of Gauteng.

With the federation now in limbo, the board “has mandated the chairperson to look at various options including holding discussions with Dave Richardson, the former CEO of the International Cricket Council, regarding the appointment of an acting CEO”.

The board itself was rocked earlier this week by the resignations of Shirley Zinn and Iqbal Khan, two independent directors.

Heinz Schenk / The Citizen