South Africa is under fire and in danger of being banned from international cricket following the threat of its government to intervene in the affairs of the sport’s national body following revelations of serious misconduct by senior officials. The tension between the South African government and Cricket South Africa (CSA) relates to a long-running investigation into the affairs of the cricket body.
In a strongly-worded statement, Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa set a deadline of October 27 for the CSA to provide him in writing with reasons why he should not “exercise his right to intervene”. Mthethwa said he had informed the International Cricket Council (ICC) of his intentions. Mthethwa insists that “no value in further engagement” unless CSA can resolve its problems by the given deadline.
CSA is currently operating with an acting president, and the board has been severely criticised for failing to act to stop the misconduct during Moroe’s tenure. However, it is learnt that the ICC’s constitution forbids government interference and the punishment is normally a ban from international games for the country’s teams until the national cricket body is operating independently again.
The ICC confirmed it had received notice of potential intervention from the sports ministry but no complaint of interference yet from CSA. “Members are encouraged to resolve matters directly with their governments. We will continue to monitor the situation,” the sport’s governing body said. A planned one-day international tour by England in November and December now appears to be in doubt.
Mthethwa’s move came after a meeting between CSA and the parliamentary sports portfolio committee earlier this week which the minister said had yielded “negative outcomes”. “Efforts have been made over several months to try and assist CSA to stabilise its governance matters. This, after a huge outcry regarding the failure of its leadership to effectively manage its affairs,” the ministry said in a statement.
CSA has been plagued by controversy and claims of mismanagement since the suspension of former chief executive Thabang Moroe by the the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) last December 2019. Moroe was later sacked in August after an independent investigation found him guilty of committing acts of serious misconduct, without the need for a disciplinary hearing.
SASCOC acting chief executive Ravi Govender said the radical step is “to remove the negativity and governance issues around CSA, so that in future they can be more effective and efficient in their mandate”. Sascoc asked Mthethwa to get involved after what it claimed was a lack of cooperation from CSA. According to South African legislation, Sascoc is an umbrella body for elite sports codes.
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