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CSA's acting president persuaded not to resign

Firdose Moonda

January 8, 2013

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Willie Basson, CSA's acting president, has been convinced not to resign his post with less than a month to go before the body's AGM. ESPNcricinfo understands Basson had already typed his resignation letter after local media alleged that he was involved in the Aparthied-era chemical warfare program, but a board member persuaded him not to step down.

Vincent Sinovich, president of the Northerns Cricket Union, confirmed Basson was about to quit before the two spoke. "I begged him not to resign, and I've been on edge waiting to see what he would do," Sinovich said. "He certainly was thinking very seriously about resigning.

"No-one else would have achieved what he has achieved in the time he has been there. We all have a past. Whether he was involved or wasn't involved [in the government] he doesn't need to explain himself. It was 30 years ago."

Despite Basson's change of heart, a source close to CSA's board said some members will still ask Basson to resign at their meeting on Wednesday. It is at this meeting that CSA will iron out the details of the new board, which must be put in place at their AGM on February 2.

The board restructure was put in place after the conclusion of the Nicholson commission - the ministerial authority set up to investigate Gerald Majola's financial wrongdoing and CSA's corporate governance structures. Nicholson instructed CSA to reconstitute their board to an 11-member panel (down from 22) and include five independent directors.

While CSA's nomination committee has decided on the independent component of the board, there is dispute over the chairmanship. The committee chose former CSA president Norman Arendse but the current board vetoed that decision. Arendse then took the matter to arbitration and won only to have the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) raise an objection to independent chairmanship. Wednesday's board meeting will decide whether CSA will honour Nicholson or obey SASCOC.

Whichever route they take, Basson will not sit on the board so his resignation does not have much effect on the presidency. However, if Basson stays on, he will continue in his role as head of the transformation committee, which the disgruntled board members are unhappy with.

Their reasons for objecting with Basson continuing in a development role relate to his prior involvement with the old South African government. Although Basson has not elaborated on exactly what he did while involved in the program, his association with it is thought to contradict strongly with the values of democratic South Africa.

Those members also blame him for the lack of transformation in South Africa's Test squad, which is another item on the agenda at the Wednesday meeting. There has been talk that the board is considering legislating the number of black Africans who take the field at all levels.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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