Cricket reaches rock bottom with Sports Minister set to strip CSA of funding, national recognition

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Nathi Mthethwa (Gallo Images)
Nathi Mthethwa (Gallo Images)

Cricket South Africa's (CSA) has received communication from Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa that he intends "defunding" and "derecognising" the organisation. 

Mthethwa will be exercising clause 13 from the national Sport and Recreation Act.

Effectively, this means that Mthethwa is set to remove government funding to South African cricket while the Proteas men's and women's teams would also lose their national status. 

He will also be alerting the International Cricket Council (ICC) of his decision.

In a four-page letter to the interim board and the members' council, which Sport24 has seen, Mthethwa explains his decision to totally intervene in the running of cricket. 

This comes after this past Saturday's special general meeting which saw the members' council preventing Mthethwa's wishes that the CSA board be made made up of a majority of independent directors. 

A total of 75% of the members' council needed to vote in favour of the new board structure, which did not happen.

The stand-off between the interim board and the members' council has ultimately led to Mthethwa flexing, and his intervention now threatens the very existence of the game in South Africa. 

In his letter, Mthethwa also criticised the role that Sascoc had played in the entire process and for standing in the way of the best interests of cricket. 

But he was particularly scathing of the members' council and its acting president, Rihan Richards. 

"Cricket cannot be held hostage by a minority of the members' council," Mthethwa wrote.

"In fact, I note that of the vocal minority of the members' council, some (including yourself) had also sat on the subcommittee formed by the IB to consider the Nicholson recommendations, and that subcommittee had unanimously supported  a majority independent board."

The decision from Mthethwa will need to be gazetted before it is passed, suggesting that the members' council still has a small window to concede. 

"It is indeed a very sad day for our country, for cricket, for the millions of South African fans who love the game and the sponsors who have committed to cricket and its grassroots development," a statement from the interim board read.

"But it is a specifically sad day for the players, staff and others whose livelihoods are at stake."  

Chairperson of the interim board, Stavros Nicolaou, called on the members' council to act swiftly to avoid any further action.

"Only the Members' Council can retrieve the situation now by resolving to support an expedited procedure in terms of section 60 of the Companies Act," he said. 

The statement continued: "The Board commends the majority of the Members' Council who support good governance and voted in favour of a modern governance structure for cricket. It is deeply disappointing that a self-interested vocal minority voted against change while three members chose to abstain. These actions have now brought the game to its knees and will cause the greatest crisis since readmission."

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