Home South African Cricket SA vs Sascoc: Wrapping up 24 hours of drama

Cricket SA vs Sascoc: Wrapping up 24 hours of drama

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A week of high-drama in SA sport: Cricket South Africa wants to meet the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee and Sascoc wants to meet Cricket SA.

Kugandri Govender (CSA) vs Ravi Govender (Sascoc). Picture: BackpagePix

CRICKET South Africa wants to meet the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee and Sascoc wants to meet CSA.

That much is clear from CSA’s 1am statement issued on Friday and another letter Sascoc is writing to CSA which should have reached local cricket’s mother body on Friday afternoon.

Those talks – which Sascoc wants to have happen no later than Saturday – are likely to be heated. Sascoc continues to push for the establishment of a task team to investigate all the crises which have affected CSA.

Cricket SA is questioning the need for Sascoc’s task team and said in that 1am statement it would seek legal advice regarding the basis for Sascoc’s intervention.

Sascoc isn’t happy that CSA issued a statement in that regard. “We wrote directly to CSA and its Members Council. It’s rather unfortunate that CSA issued a public statement before engaging with us. We are hoping we can overcome that little hurdle and move forward with what we need to do,” Sascoc’s acting CEO Ravi Govender told Independent Media on Friday.

As an affiliate of Sascoc, Cricket SA is subject to Sascoc’s rules. When CSA announced it was postponing its AGM, one of the steps it said it would undertake was to engage with Sascoc and the Minister of Sport, Nathi Mthethwa. In that regard Sascoc was supposed to hold two meetings with CSA last week.

The Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa. Picture: Kopano Tlape, GCIS.

Only one of those meetings took place according to the letter Sascoc wrote to CSA on Thursday. The reason the second didn’t take place is that CSA refused to grant Sascoc access to the forensic report that resulted from an independent forensic investigation that CSA’s Members Council commissioned earlier this year.

Sascoc described CSA’s refusal to fully avail it with the report as “wholly unreasonable and irrational”. It called for the Board of Directors and a handful of senior management officials including most notably the acting CEO Kugandrie Govender and the company secretary Welsh Gwaza all to “step aside”, on full pay, while the task team completed its investigation.

The forensic report is clearly a massive problem for Cricket SA. When the investigation was first commissioned last December, following the suspension of CEO Thabang Moroe, it was supposed to look at his conduct in running CSA head office and how the Board of Directors practised its oversight regarding his work.

The investigators, Fundudzi Forensic Services, submitted the report to CSA in early July. It runs to 468 pages and is said to include at least three ‘auxiliary files’. The Members Council which commissioned the investigation cannot read it however unless representatives sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement. Sascoc‘s Board have refused to sign an NDA and demanded access to the report claiming that it cannot manage recommendations contained therein if it cannot read it.

Sascoc’s small task team – of no more than four people according to Govender – is also set to investigate CSA. The investigation said Sascoc won’t take more than a month to complete its work and must be paid for by CSA. Govender said Sascoc had no option but to bill CSA, because Sascoc “is cash strapped”.

Sascoc’s acting CEO Ravi Govender

“Our funding has been cut due to various happenings at National Lottery (from where Sascoc draws most of its funding) and in the last four- year cycle we lost R100-million a year. That was nothing to do with Sascoc, it was just how National Lottery made amendments to its allocation criteria.”

Cricket SA, said Govender, had informed Sascoc that its financial situation, for now, was sound and stable. “We have to fund this from somewhere. The task team is intended to benefit cricket,” Govender added.

For now, Govender won’t be drawn on any punitive steps Sascoc could take either in terms of its own constitution or the National Sports and Recreation Act. The act makes provision for national colours to be withdrawn and even for tours to be halted, should federations incur the ire of government.

On Saturday, CSA’s Members Council will begin a two-day workshop. The forensic report is set to be a major topic for discussion, with representatives insisting that they be granted access to it.

Crciket SA acting CEO Kugandrie Govender. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Meanwhile, Zaahier Adams reports that the International Cricket Council is keeping a watching brief as its South African affiliate lurches from one drama to the next. The ICC is likely to seek clarification from Cricket SA over Sascoc’s decision to take over the running of the game in the country.

Article 2.4 of the ICC’s Constitution states that: “The Member must manage it affairs autonomously and ensure that there is not 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.”

However, a precedent was set in 2005 when the ICC recognised the government-appointed Interim Committee as the rightful body empowered to run cricket in Sri Lanka after taking legal advice. The ICC were initially reluctant to be drawn into the dispute, claiming that it was an internal issue, but after seeking legal advice accepted the new body’s intention to take full control of all property, including the building and the bank accounts.

Sri Lanka’s interim committee did, though, relinquish their vote at ICC Board meetings but continued to participate in ICC events.