Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent
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Cricket South Africa have fired former CEO Thabang Moroe with immediate effect, almost nine months after he was suspended in December 2019. Moroe was sacked after an independent forensic investigation revealed he had "committed acts of serious misconduct." He is expected to challenge this outcome in court.
This brings to three the total number of former CSA staff who are contesting their dismissals. Former chief operating officer Naasei Appiah, who was fired earlier this month and former head of sales and sponsorship Clive Eksteen, who was fired in June, have taken their cases to the labour court and the commission for conciliation, mediation, and arbitration respectively.
Kugandrie Govender, who was named acting CEO last Wednesday, will continue in the position while CSA search for a more permanent solution. Govender replaced Jacques Faul, who stood down last Monday, after being in the position since Moroe was suspended. Faul has returned to his role as CEO of the Titans franchise.
The conclusion of Moroe's matter brings to an end only part of the administrative crisis at CSA. The organisation is also without an elected president after Chris Nenzani resigned three weeks before his term was due to end and have lost one of their five independent directors after Steve Cornelius stood down last week. Those positions will be filled at CSA's AGM which is due to take place on September 5.
What is unclear is whether the full forensic audit which resulted in Moroe's being sacked will be made available to CSA's members' council (the body made up of the 14 provincial presidents with the highest decision-making powers) or to the public. In July, Nenzani said that "key parts," of the report would be made public but CSA have not indicated if that remains the case.
That means, for now, the exact reasons for Moroe being sacked have not been listed by CSA, who only confirmed that Moroe's offences were serious enough to warrant immediate dismissal, without the need for a disciplinary hearing.
It is believed financial misdemeanors form part of the concerns against Moroe. Along with the revocation of the accreditation of five journalists, misuse of CSA's step-in rights over provincial unions which led to the Western Province Board being disbanded and CSA's increasingly poor relationship with the South African Cricketers Association (SACA), Moroe's position was deemed untenable and he was dismissed without CSA holding a disciplinary hearing. CSA made the decision to sack Moroe after two meetings in which Moroe was afforded a chance to offer explanations over the findings of the investigation.
"Mr Thabang Moroe was offered sufficient opportunity to provide representations to the independent forensic auditors and to the Board regarding the allegations of misconduct, which opportunity he failed and/or refused to utilise," CSA's statement on Thursday read.
Having now sacked Moroe, CSA will be able to stop paying his salary, which amounted to R356,000 per month (US$20,877) and which Moroe has been receiving throughout his suspension.
Moroe was confirmed CSA CEO in July 2018, on a three-year contract which would have run until 2021. Prior to that, Moroe acted in the role for 10 months following CSA's parting of ways with Haroon Lorgat, who replaced Faul, who was, at the time, acting CEO after Gerald Majola was sacked. That means that all three of CSA's last permanent CEOs have left the organisation in acrimonious circumstances which speak to the governance challenges that have plagued CSA over much of the past eight years.
In that time, South African cricket has been through four Test captains and four national men's coaches and has tried to get a franchise T20 competition off the ground, initially without success and then, in 2018, without a television rights or sponsorship deal. The Mzansi Super League (MSL), which has been played for the last two years and broadcast on state television, was due to attract a deal with pay-television provider SuperSport this summer but that appears unlikely now and the tournament could be postponed altogether. With South Africa's national teams (men's and women's) awaiting the season's fixtures and the FTP up in the air, difficult days lie ahead for cricket in this country, with no obvious solutions in sight.
CSA were due in parliament last Friday to answer questions relating to the forensic investigations, transformation and governance but their appearance was postponed because the forensic audit was not ready to be presented. Now that Moroe has been fired on the basis of the independent audit, CSA may be forced to begin the process of engagement, first with the sports ministry and then with other stakeholders.