South Africa news January 9, 2013

Arendse returns to South Africa board

Former CSA president Norman Arendse will make a return to cricket after it was confirmed that he will be one of the independent directors on the restructured board. The advocate's last involvement with the game was five years ago when he stepped down.

He will not, however, come back in the role as chairperson of the board as was put forward by the nominations committee CSA put in place to identify candidates on the new board. Instead, CSA decided to accept the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee's (SASCOC) objection to an independent chairman which goes against the Nicholson commission recommendations.

At a board meeting on Wednesday, CSA opted not to follow the Nicholson "to the letter," as the sports minister instructed them to but reached consensus on the composition of their new board which will be elected at the AGM. CSA state that Nicholson was only a "guiding document," and so differing from it will not result in any action from the minister.

The board will consist of five independent directors and seven provincial presidents (to be chosen from the 11 affiliates.) All the new board members must be elected with a majority of more than 50% of the vote. The five independents have already been recommended with two alternatives, who will step if one of them does not get the required number of votes.

From those five independent directors CSA will choose a Lead Director, a position in line with accepted corporate governance guidelines, who will assist the chairperson. Essentially, this is the compromise for not having an independent chair and uniting the roles of chairperson and president which were due to be separate.

The new directors will all begin their terms on February 2. After 18 months, CSA's board will expand - again going against the Nicholson stipulations - by four members. The independent component will increase to seven and nine provincial presidents will sit on the board.

In a meeting that was dedicated to smoothing out issues, the body's acting president Willie Basson was not asked to resign over his involvement in the Apartheid-era chemical warfare program. Before the meeting, some board members said they would ask Basson to step down but then u-turned on that.

"The Board accepted his explanation for his involvement in the previous and current government's chemical research programme and acknowledged that he had always operated in good faith," CSA said in a statement.

The final issue on the agenda was on transformation and no concrete decisions were made. "The Board had a frank and full discussion on transformation which included input from CSA's national selection convener, Andrew Hudson.

"The urgent need to improve representation of Black Africans at all levels from school and club through to franchises and on to national level was stressed as an imperative. Transformation will be carried out as a three-tier policy at club and school level, franchise level and national level."

CSA did not, as their policy states, appoint a black African selector to the panel neither did they enforce any legislation on the number of black African players in all teams. In the lead up to the meeting, various board members suggested both would be a discussion point and most have confirmed the two issues will continue to be debated and solutions sought.

Some of those may come from Arendse, for whom development was an issue he was vocal about. However, as a member of the board alone and not its chair his involvement in cricketing matters will be limited. That is what some CSA administrators wanted to ensure before they let him back into the game.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent