Members of the board of Cricket SA (CSA) appear to be getting ready for a fight after the members’ council passed a resolution for the board to step down on Thursday.
Board members Marius Schoeman, an independent director, and Eastern Province’s Donovan May are known to be reluctant to step down, with their obstinacy plunging the sport into a weekend of confusion ahead of possible ministerial intervention by close of business of Tuesday.
Welsh Gwaza, CSA’s company secretary, also appears to be offering board members legal advice to stay put, understands City Press sister paper, Rapport.
“I don’t think the board is going anywhere anytime soon,” said an insider. “It’s an unholy mess.”
Adding credence to the idea that the board members are digging trenches and fixing proverbial bayonets was acting president Beresford Williams’ claim yesterday that, as far as he was concerned, “no resolution was passed by the members’ council on Thursday”.
Williams’ statement was part of a broader wave of confusion, with independent director Dheven Dharmalingham appearing to resign on Friday, only for this to be contradicted by a CSA statement saying that Dharmalingham “had indicated a willingness to resign” but had not, in fact, done so.
The members’ council is scheduled to meet at 9am today to discuss the board’s response to the request that they should step aside.
Should the board fail to respond – or respond via a legal challenge – this would simply increase the possibility of ministerial intervention.
Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa signalled his intention to intervene in CSA’s affairs two weeks ago.
If they wanted to make representation to Mthethwa that he shouldn’t intervene, they were free to do so, but if he didn’t hear from them, he would step in to run their everyday affairs by Tuesday.
Thursday night’s members’ council resolution was widely seen as a means of avoiding the ministerial intervention, although if the board stays put, the minister would have no alternative but to intervene.
This could attract the attention of the International Cricket Council (ICC).
The current crisis is not the only item on the agenda of this morning’s meeting.
Also being discussed is an amendment to CSA’s constitution – called the memorandum of incorporation in cricket-speak – which currently allows individuals to sit on both the board and the members’ council simultaneously.
Williams is one such individual, as is May, both of whom recused themselves from Thursday night’s council meeting because they wear two hats.
“The initial board proposal [at Wednesday’s board meeting] was that only the non-independents step aside,” said someone who sits on the members’ council.
“But that was rejected by the council on Thursday. We wanted an entire board resignation with the running of the game in the interim to be taken over by a committee of, say, six persons, made up of a former player, an ICC appointee and two appointments from Sascoc [SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee].
“It would only be for six weeks anyway, because we must have elections by December 5, which it the latest we can have [this year’s] annual general meeting.”
Read: CSA board fights back
While there has been a chorus of disapproval against asking the board to step down from the SA Players’ Association, the cricket fraternity, the minister and sponsors, there are also fears that the members’ council might have erred procedurally in its resolution.
“I don’t think the request meets minimum legal requirements,” said an insider.
“You have to give reasons why they should go and give them a right of reply in a time frame of between 14 and 21 days. That wasn’t done.”
Although Williams disputed the members’ council’s resolution, he did, however, underline his commitment to do the right thing, saying he would go if he had to.
“I will always act in the best interest of cricket – no doubt about it.”
Williams said a board statement on the chaos was imminent, although he couldn’t say exactly when this would be.