South Africa news

CSA reschedules AGM to Nov 30

Firdose Moonda

October 24, 2012

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Cricket South Africa has postponed its annual general meeting for the second time this year in order to resolve a conflict with the country's chief sports authority. The meeting, originally due to take place in September as normal, was rescheduled for this Saturday, October 27, but will now be held on November 30.

By then, CSA will hope to have formed its new board to the satisfaction of both the Nicholson Committee and the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC). The two are currently in conflict with each other, which led to the delay.

Judge Chris Nicholson recommended that CSA restructure its board completely, after an investigation convened by the country's sports minister Fikile Mbalula. Nicholson was tasked with looking into the R4.7 million (then $671,428) in bonuses paid to former chief executive Gerald Majola and 39 other staff members. The money was reward for the successful hosting of the 2009 IPL but did not pass through the board.

Nichsolson found Majola guilty of wrongdoing and advised that he be suspended and that disciplinary action be taken against him. Majola's disciplinary hearing was completed last week and he was fired on Friday but he is appealing to the Labour Court.

The other major recommendation of the ministerial committee related to corporate governance. Nicholson said CSA needed a smaller board and more independent directors on it. That prompted CSA to announce a new structure which would see it halve its 22-member board to 11. It also pledged to appoint five outsiders.

Last week, the five directors were announced and CSA was due to complete the process on Saturday by electing the five provincial presidents to the new board. CSA has been prevented from doing this because SASCOC, it is believed, are unhappy with the independent component of the board, although the sport's governing body of the country has been tight-lipped about their exact gripe.

The South Africa Cricket Players' Association (SACA) cricticised the delay in restructuring process*. In a realease, SACA said: "A the 11th hour it [the board restructure] has all been put on hold with the threat that the progress made will be derailed and another structure put in place. The players, en masse, are asking 'how can this be happening?'

"Our cricketers have been patient through all of the problems and have given CSA their support and a fair opportunity to fix things. Now, quite frankly, they are angry with this set-back for what appears to be 'political' reasons.

"There are good people in cricket, including CSA's current leadership and some of the existing directors, who have worked tirelessly to bring about these governance changes and the changes will make cricket one of the best administered sports in the country. We have a world class team. The players expect the administration of the game, and in particular the Board of CSA, to aspire to the same high standards in the governance of the game."

The selection of the independent directors has also come under scrutiny. CSA elected a nominations committee to put forward names for these positions. It has emerged that CSA had former president Norman Arendse listed as chairperson of the new board but CSA's current board rejected him because according to them, he does not qualify as an independent. Arendse is an honorary member of Western Province Cricket Club. Instead, ABSA deputy group chief executive Louis von Zeuner, a banker, was named chairperson.

The board maintains that it informed the nominations committee in detail about who would be considered ineligible. In response, two members of that committee have resigned - Sean Christiansen and former convenor of selectors Rushdie Magiet. Christian told local papers he felt he had been "hoodwinked" and "manipulated" by CSA. Arendse is seeking dispute resolution on the issue and believes he was excluded as part of an anti-transformation stance.

With more sub-plots than most television soap operas, it is clear why CSA could not complete its restructuring as planned. The current board will continue in their roles until the end of next month. CSA is also due to advertise the post of chief executive following Majola's dismissal.

*04.30pm, October 25: This article has been updated after SACA issued their press release

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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