EXPLAINER | CSA in crisis - what you need to know

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Cricket SA president Chris Nenzani during a media briefing at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on 7 December 2019.
Cricket SA president Chris Nenzani during a media briefing at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on 7 December 2019.
Johan Rynners/Gallo Images)

The news on Monday that Cricket South Africa (CSA) president Chris Nenzani had resigned came as a surprise, but it also served as the latest confirmation that the organisation has reached crisis point. 

From a leadership and administration point of view, the uncertainty has reached new heights. 

Nenzani announced his resignation to the board on Friday, just three weeks before he was due to step down from that role following the CSA AGM on 5 September where a new president and board will be voted in. 

That Nenzani opted to stand down before that AGM raises more questions than answers, but here we attempt to provide some clarity to concerned cricket lovers and the questions they might presently have. 

From the presidency to the CEO position to the financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, South African cricket has reached a critical juncture.

Q: Why did Chris Nenzani resign as president? 

No reason was given in the official CSA statement, but Nenzani did commit to addressing the media following the September 5 AGM.

The president has come under intense criticism for his handling of a number of issues including a perceived lack of transformation in South African cricket and the fact that, under his watch, the disciplinary process into suspended CEO Thabang Moroe has not been completed more than nine months later. 

Nenzani's resignation came hours after the confirmation that suspended COO Naasei Appiah had his contract terminated by CSA. 

Q: Who takes over now?

There is no automatic replacement. Beresford Williams is the current vice-president of CSA, but the decision to make him the acting president needs to come from the members council. A decision from the members council is expected in the coming days, but whoever that person is will operate as president in a caretaker capacity until the AGM on 5 September. 

Q: What's going on with the CEO position? 

Moroe was suspended by Nenzani and the CSA board in December 2019 on allegations of alleged misconduct. The suspension came at a time when CSA under Moroe was losing the faith of the cricketing public and of potential investors. 

That decision saw Jacques Faul appointed as acting CEO of the organisation, but his secondment will come to an end on 15 September. 

If the Moroe case is still not finalised by then, then CSA will need to appoint another acting CEO until it is. 

It leaves CSA currently without a president and no permanent CEO, while there is no clear indication of what the future holds in either of those two key positions. 

Moroe, who returned to the CSA offices to work in June only for Nenzani to confirm that he remained suspended, has been receiving a full salary since December.

Q: What role is Graeme Smith playing in all of this? 

Smith believes that there are certain sections of CSA's senior management who are fuelling a media agenda to discredit him and the organisation. 

He has been made to defend his own appointment as DOC back in December as well as his appointments of head coach Mark Boucher and the team of consultants he assembled ahead of December's England Test series. 

Smith has also placed at the centre of the Black Lives Matter movement that has currently made waves in South African cricket, with several former players having shared experiences of loneliness and exclusion under his leadership. 

In a press conference last month, Smith acknowledged that he had thought about his future within the organisation. 

Q: When do the Proteas play again? 

Due to the coronavirus crisis, South Africa's tour of West Indies and Sri Lanka have been suspended indefinitely. 

It means that the next likely action for the Proteas men's team will come in the form of a lucrative three-match T20 series against India.

That series could be played at a neutral venue, but it is understood that it might not happen at all if the necessary approvals are not given by government.

Losing the series would cost CSA something in the region of R160 million – R180 million.

The proteas women, meanwhile, are due to tour England later this month.

Q: How bad is the financial situation at CSA? 

Back in 2018, CSA had projected a well-documented R654 million loss over its next four-year financial cycle through to 2022. That was before the financial impact of the coronavirus and two unsuccessful years, from a financial point of view, of the Mzansi Super League (MSL).

The MSL has lost a reported R80 million per year in each of its first two years, the men's national team is currently without a title sponsor following Standard Bank's non-renewal and CSA is also set to negotiate a new broadcast deal with SuperSport that will be hugely important in the overall aim to stay afloat financially.

Q: What will happen at the September 5 AGM?

A new board will be elected by the members' council, which includes representatives of the 14 playing unions.

A new president will also be elected for a four-year term. 

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