Cricket SA’s (CSA’s) claim to administrative history – where it was were to be the first sporting code in the country to have a board with majority independent directors – didn’t exactly get off to a seamless start at their belated annual general meeting yesterday.
While the interim board achieved its primary goal of implementing the governance measures recommended by Judge Chris Nicholson by ending up with a majority independent board, the Members’ Council’s rejection of one of the appointed independents meant that not only was the process shrouded in controversy, it was also left incomplete.
The independent director whose appointment the Members’ Council unanimously objected to that of Advocate Norman Arendse, who has held many positions in the organisation, including the presidency, the most recent being that of independent board member.
Having initially tried to sidestep explaining what the Members’ Council’s problem with Arendse is, newly elected CSA president Rihan Richards explained only after it was insisted that he fully answered the question.
“There were two areas that raised concerns with Advocate Arendse,” Richards said. “One was we wanted an understanding from the panel [the independent panel in charge of appointing the independent board members] if consideration had been given to his being the leading independent director during the period of [fired former CEO] Thabang Moroe, the Global T20 and his [open letter] utterances with regards to CSA over the period he’s been off the board.”
The upshot of the protest was that the independent panel has committed to re-evaluating whether a candidate more likeable to the Members’ Council could be found, and to get back to CSA by close of business tomorrow.
This means there are now seven independents – are Steven Budlender, former Proteas batsman and national convenor of selectors Andrew Hudson, Dugmore Lushaba, Lawson Naidoo, Andisa Ntsubane, Mark Rayner and former boxing and netball boss Ntambi Ravele – instead of the envisaged eight, with CSA resolving to conclude the annual general meeting on Wednesday.
Curiously, Richards said the Members’ Council would accept it if the independent panel came back with Arendse as the only suitable candidate for the vacant independent director’s spot.
The delay will also affect the appointment of the audit and risk committee, as its chairperson would come from the independent quota of the board of directors.
The appointment of the non-independents also didn’t go ahead without hiccups. With six candidates for the five spots, two of the nominees were tied on votes.
In a move that gave a glimpse into the fast and loose way things are sometimes conducted in cricket’s administration, Border president Simphiwe Ndzundzu – without knowing who the tied candidates were – proposed that the meeting take a break while said nominees decided between them who should get the nod, instead of the usual second round of voting.
As it turned out, the deadlock was between him and Gauteng Lions president Anne Vilas, someone he has a bitter history with due to the jockeying for positions during CSA’s administrative meltdown.
Vilas had written CSA to voice her objections against his nomination as a nonexecutive director in the organisation on account of reports claiming he’d been party to gender-based violence, which had left a woman with a broken arm.
Ndzundzu’s response was to deny the allegations, saying: “We were not surprised by such as that’s the mandate of such people to put every black man’s name in dirt.”
After a second round of voting, Ndzundzu emerged as the fifth non-independent director of the board.
With regards to the elections for the president and his deputy, Eastern Province’s Donovan May withdrew his nomination for the top job, leaving Richards to be elected unopposed and he, in turn, was elected unopposed for the vice-presidency.