Cricket South Africa saved from the brink of collapse

Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) governance has been a MESS for years. It seems a group of cronies have been hanging on to power at the body, which is independent from government and is meant to administer all aspects of the sport locally. Things got so bad that, back in 2012, an inquiry headed by retired Judge Chris Nicholson highlighted issues of corporate governance and mismanagement. 

He called for the appointment of an independent board and independent chairperson. But those fighting against reform have resisted change time and time again, so Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa was forced to step in. Now, look, the government rightfully gets a lot of flack for meddling in state bodies – but this time it was warranted. 

After Nicholson’s recommendations were ignored, Mthethwa appointed an interim board last year. Long story short, the Members Council (MC) – the highest decision-making body and policy-maker at the CSA – continued to make things difficult. It even mounted something of an internal coup against adopting a Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI) to allow recommended changes to the board structure. 

This effectively held the entire sport hostage, because Mthethwa had no choice but to step in, and exercised his right in terms of the Sports Act… but the International Cricket Council effectively says there can’t be political interference, so we were at risk of not being recognised internationally, taking us back to pre-1994 isolation days. 😦  

Thankfully following Mthethwa’s decision to play tough – he was planning to gazette the new policy today (Friday) – cricket bosses put aside their differences to save the beautiful game and adopt the new MOI.  

Now we just need the Proteas men to whip up their skill and give South Africa some cricketing kudos. After all, the women’s team has – please learn from them! 

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 15 April 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.