Cricket South Africa, which stands largely disgraced and discredited following serious charges of favouritism in the appointment of top office bearers, has slipped further into the mire with its board being suspended pending investigation.
While the cricket board had courted infamy in the recent past over the alleged opacity in its day-to-day functioning, the sorry state of affairs hit bad press globally following a fresh volley of charges that due process wasn’t followed in the appointment of former captain Graeme Smith as the director of cricket operations. Though Smith refuted the charges and claimed he was appointed fair, the cloud of selectivism and unfair practices hanging heavy over the power corridors in the CSA deepened further.
Making matters worse, a string of former cricketers raised the colour bogey, claiming racial bias in their playing days and in matters of selection and cricket administration. What they left unsaid was the alleged institutional support by the cricket board to the practice of racial justice which resulted in the issue being ignored, unaddressed and swept under the carpet through the years.
However, the deep rot in cricket administration in the country couldn’t apparently be ignored any more as the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) suspended the CSA board for a period of one month during which time the charges of misconduct and unfair practices would be probed.
The Sydney Morning Herald quoted SASCOC acting chief executive Ravi Govender as saying that the drastic move is aimed at removing “the negativity and governance issues around CSA, so that in future they can be more effective and efficient in their mandate”.
The CSA has for long been grappling with a crisis of confidence after a report pointed to gross misconduct and unfair practices in the organisation. Then CSA chief executive Thabang Moroe was the first to take the fall in the wake of the report as he was dismissed in August following a spell where he was placed under suspension.
Opening up on the systemic rot that has permeated every fibre of the CSA, Govender said, “We are deeply concerned about the issues that have been permeating around CSA recently. We met with the Board and requested sight of the elusive forensic report, which has not been forthcoming.”
“We’ve asked the Board to step aside so that we can implement a task team to look into their actions and report back to us within one month,” Govender said.
The Herald said that in a signed letter which was released last week, as many as 30 top players from the men’s and women’s national teams slammed the CSA Board for delaying its annual general meeting that was to be held on September 5.
He said he hoped that the International Cricket Council (ICC) would extend full support to the SASCOC in its endeavour to clean up Cricket South Africa. “The ICC has also expressed some concerns (about running of CSA) and we believe that our decision is warranted and that it will be embraced by the ICC,” Govender said.
It won’t be an exaggeration to say that Cricket South Africa has sunk to its very depths and one would dearly hope, for the future of cricket in the Rainbow nation, that the only way it goes from here is up.