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CSA's acting president set to resign

Firdose Moonda

January 7, 2013

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South Africa's Thami Tsolekile heads to practice, The Oval, London, July 17, 2012
Transformation is under the spotlight because of the lack of black South Africans in the Test team © Getty Images
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Willie Basson, Cricket South Africa's acting president, is due to resign his post after his alleged involvement in South Africa's Apartheid-era chemical warfare project was revealed by local media. ESPNcricinfo has been informed Basson will quit early in the week.

Basson will step down with just over a month to go before CSA's AGM, where a new board will be appointed in accordance with the Nicholson committee recommendations. The meeting was postponed three times from August last year because the composition of the new board is under dispute.

According to the recommendations, CSA must have five independent directors on an 11-member board but the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), the governing body of all the country's sporting bodies, is unhappy with that division. SASCOC is not in favour of that many independent members and do not want an independent chairperson, as Nicholson stipulates.

There is a further dispute brewing over the position as well. The nominations committee CSA put in place to source the independent directors chose former board president Norman Arendse to chair the new board. The current board, which has the power to veto any suggestion made, did so.

Arendse took the matter to arbitration and won. The result means he will sit on the new board but whether he will chair it is not certain. CSA will decide whether they will honour Nicholson or give in to SASCOC's demands at a board meeting on Wednesday. They will not elect a new president, though, and will go through the AGM without one.

The Basson incident is the latest in a long line of administrative bungles at CSA which began when bonuses were paid to 40 staff members after the 2009 IPL and Champions Trophy without the approval of the board. The money was picked up as an irregularity in CSA's accounts and made headlines but the board did little to punish those responsible for violating corporate governance.

They held an internal investigation that cleared then chief executive Gerald Majola of any wrongdoing but after then president Mtutuzeli Nyoka won a court battle they had to submit to an external inquiry by auditing firm KPMG. After obtaining legal advice on the KPMG report, Majola was severely reprimanded.

The country's sports minister Fikile Mbalula intervened at that point and insisted on a third probe. It was this committee, chaired by Judge Chris Nicholson, which recommended that Majola be suspended and disciplined and that the board be overhauled to incorporate more independents. Mbalula gave his word that Nicholson's recommedations would be implemented in full and CSA had to co-operate.

Majola was suspended in March but various administrative delays led to his disciplinary hearing being postponed to October. He was dismissed in the same month. CSA have had an acting boss, Jacques Faul, since then and they will only look to appoint a new one after the board is restructured at the AGM.

Basson was not due to be part of the new board anyway. In his capacity as acting president, he would have had to step down. He was, however, due to continue as CSA's transformation head, an idea that sat uneasily with other board members. Given the latest revelations and Basson's involvement with the Apartheid government, they do not feel he is the correct person to lead the drive to involve more people of colour in the game.

Transformation has been under the microscope again because of the Test team's representation. The New Year's Test against New Zealand marked two years since a black African has played in whites for South Africa. It is a contentious issue because the race group makes up over 80% of the population and more than 40% of cricketers at all levels including club and school, according to the data CSA submitted to parliament.

The numbers are better in limited-overs matches. Aaron Phangiso and Lonwabo Tsotsobe were included in the ODI squad for the New Zealand series. One of the items on the agenda for the January 9 board meeting is transformation. After the Thami Tsolekile issue, a source close to CSA's board said they could be forced to legislate the number of black Africans who have to play at all levels because the development in that area has been unsatisfactory.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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Posted by Whatsgoinoffoutthere on (January 8, 2013, 2:25 GMT)

The main problem with the "the Thami Tsolekile issue" is that the player in question is getting on a bit and clearly isn't good enough with the bat. They appear to have botched it a bit by even hinting they'd consider him, but DeVilliers as a keeper-batsman is just too good a prospect not to try fairly exhaustively. I was surprised Boucher stayed in contention for so long and, as someone who isn't South African, raised an eyebrow when I heard they were even thinking of selecting someone who wasn't DeVilliers as keeper.

Players will come along who will solve this issue, but currently South Africa are the Number 1 Test team and look like proving very hard to displace. Why deliberately break up this winning team?

Posted by HawK89 on (January 7, 2013, 11:47 GMT)

Players should be picked based on their skill, not skin colour. England should do the same with not having players who get their spot behind closed doors.

Posted by SAFan11 on (January 7, 2013, 8:16 GMT)

There I was sitting back all smug and thinking how well South African Cricket was doing. 5 Players of colour in the best starting 11 for the test team (when Duminy is fit). This is no small feat for a sport which in the past was seen as a whites only sport. However in South Africa we are ALL still over obsessed with race and the media is largely to blame for turning genuine news into race issues to try and sell more papers. I understand that the guy should not be in this position but try not to forget cricket is doing really well on the transformation front compared to other sports in SA. Tsotsobe could very well still be in there if he hadn't got injured and left the door open for Philander (who isn't giving up his place any time soon). Tsolikile may get a chance but will have to grab it with both arms and legs in this team. Phangiso may be a better long term option, why not send him off to India or Pakistan for a few months and let him learn from some of the best.

Posted by Geeva on (January 7, 2013, 7:02 GMT)

I am from South Africa (of Indian descent)...from the current test team i do not see how Thami can play in the Test Team...AB devilliers is playing a similar role as Alec Stewart did for England.Who cares iif there are no Black players...if you are good enough you will be selected.And what about denying Barry Richards and Pollocks Tayfield and Barlow there Test numbers kind of double standards?Wisden recognises them in Wisden Almanack not the warped numbering of CSA..accept the past and move forward.SA no1 cause these players are the best in the land!was great to be at newlands Day1 of the SAvs NZ(full house) white and black people supported the team.

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