CSA vs Sascoc: Ball back in Mthethwa’s court as govt walks ICC suspension tightrope

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Ravi Govender
Ravi Govender
Wessel Oosthuizen/Gallo Images
  • The CSA intervention hot potato is now in Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa's court who has to toe a fine line around the ICC's regulations against government intervention.
  • Sascoc wrote to Mthethwa saying it was hamstrung in its efforts to intervene by CSA's reluctance to hand over unrestricted access to the Fundudzi Report.
  • Sascoc and CSA have been at odds with each other since the former resolved to intervene in cricket matters.

Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa is aware of the dangers of his office stepping in to intervene at Cricket South Africa (CSA) following the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee's (Sascoc) letter saying it was hamstrung by finances.

Sascoc acting CEO Ravi Govender wrote to Mthethwa on 25 September, saying CSA's reticence in handing over unrestricted access to the Fundudzi Forensic Services audit report into CSA had caused it to step back and hand the reins back to Mthethwa.

It was the clearest indication the plan to step in at CSA originated with the government, which asked Sascoc to develop a plan for the intervention on its behalf.

"We refer to our various engagements with you relating to your request for Sascoc to intervene in the affairs of Cricket South Africa in order to regularise its administration of the sport in this country,” the opening line of the letter said.

Responding to questions from Sport24 about whether Sascoc acted at the behest of the government, Mthethwa, through spokesperson Masechaba Khumalo, said: "The matter of Sascoc's responsibility to intervene in terms of its constitution was discussed at an earlier meeting with Sascoc."

Regarding the risks of incurring the wrath of the International Cricket Council, who forbids government interference in its member nations' affairs, which could lead to South Africa's banning, Mthethwa said: "Yes. That's why [the] minister will not interfere, but will only intervene in line with the Sport and Reaction Act."

Sascoc and CSA have been at odds with each other since the former, who oversees all South African sporting federations, resolved to intervene in cricket.

Govender said, despite the letter - which expressed CSA's reluctance to give Sascoc the Fundudzi Report without signing non-disclosure agreements - the body had not changed its tune.

"All we're saying is, the principle position of Sascoc has not changed," he added.

"We've had no further engagements with [CSA]. Remember, when this whole process started, it was the minister's office that also made a request for Sascoc to look into the matters of Cricket South Africa.

"The request from the minister came from Cricket South Africa itself, when it went to present to the minister and said to him the various aspects of assistance that they would seek from Sascoc.

"On that basis, we intervened and the [Sascoc] board applied its mind and took a position, which has been well-communicated to Cricket South Africa.  

"The letter to the minister was for purposes of following up with him and responding to his very first request: for us, as the macro body, to attend to our member.

"I don't want to say any more because we haven't yet received a response from the minister's office. It would be more prudent to see how he responds to our letter, so that we are better able to comment further," said Govender.

CSA responded via emailed request for comment, saying: "In terms of Cricket South Africa's positioning, we will continue to engage constructively with Sascoc."

Read the full letter below:

25 September 2020

Dear Honourable Minister


1. We refer to our various engagements with you relating to your request for SASCOC to intervene in the affairs of Cricket South Africa in order to regularise its administration of the sport in this country.

2. You may have gathered that SASCOC passed various resolutions as part of its intervention process that included, inter-alia, the demand for unrestricted access to the Fundudzi Forensic Report and the establishment of an independent task team comprising of eminent persons with knowledge and experience in corporate governance as well as the sport of cricket, to conduct the investigations on behalf of SASCOC and to make recommendations on remedial steps that Cricket South Africa ought to take in order to regularise its affairs.

3. Our demand for the forensic report has been met with serious resistance by the administrators of CSA who have made it abundantly clear that the report will not be released unconditionally and will only be released provided our board members sign confidentiality agreements which will preclude any discussions thereon and the inability on our part to obtain advice and recommendations in respect of the aforementioned report. More recent media reports indicate that Cricket South Africa is bent on “self-correcting” whilst its current board members and executive management, who must have been implicated in the forensic report, remain in office and refuse to step aside pending finalisation of the investigations to be carried out by the independent task team.

4. It has become abundantly clear that CSA, which has resources at its disposal, will not readily cooperate with SASCOC and it is inevitable that a dispute will be declared between SASCOC and CSA which will result in protracted and expensive litigation, which resources SASCOC simply does not possess to pursue legal proceedings against CSA.

5. In light of the lack of resources on our part, SASCOC unfortunately has to refer this matter back to you, Honourable Minister, to enable you to take whatever action in your powers you deem necessary to restore the dignity of the game of cricket in this country. However, should you be prepared to make resources available to SASCOC for us to enforce corrective measures in the administration of CSA, we will gladly take all appropriate steps to intervene in its affairs and utilise all mechanisms at our disposal in order to restore CSA to its former glory. 

6. In the absence of providing us with the resources that will be required as referred to above, we wish you well with your efforts in dealing with very serious issues plaguing CSA.

Yours faithfully.

Ravi Govender

Acting CEO

On directions of the SASCOC Board

Copy to : Honourable Chairperson Ms. Beauty Dlulane

Chairperson of Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation

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