Picture: 123RF/RICHARD THOMAS
Picture: 123RF/RICHARD THOMAS

Calls for the removal of the Cricket South Africa (CSA) board grew louder on Thursday when sponsor Momentum issued an ultimatum to the embattled but defiant organisation and demanded that it gets its act together.

The financial services group said it had met the CSA leadership and outlined “very specific governance and reputational requirements” that the organisation had to deliver on if it is to restore public trust and corporate confidence.

Chief among Momentum’s demands are the resignation of the CSA board members and a forensic audit of the board’s affairs.

Momentum set a deadline of April 30 2020 for the board to step aside or the financial services group would “reconsider” its sponsorship of the game.

“We will be holding the CSA board accountable to get its house in order‚” said Momentum head of sponsorships Carel Bosman. “Failing such remedy‚ Momentum will have to reconsider its sponsorship agreement at the end of the current season.”

Bosman said he is confident that CSA would “act decisively so that cricket in SA can move forward”.

Momentum Metropolitan deputy CEO Jeanette Marais said she hoped CSA would “do the right thing”.

The right thing Marais referred to‚ among other requirements, is the immediate resignation of the entire board. Alternatively‚ she said‚ Momentum would accept the “resignation of the current president (Chris Nenzani) and vice-president (Beresford Williams) in order to address the leadership crisis at CSA”. 

Momentum indicated that its concerns are “in light of recent revelations and reports of lack of good governance at Cricket SA”. It said the bad press has had a “negative impact”.

The sponsorship deal between Momentum and CSA is essentially rooted in supporting the body’s developmental structures and talent pipelines with the Momentum Schools Weeks for under-13‚ -15 and -17 teams. It includes the Momentum Friendship Games which are localised around CSA’s developmental hubs in rural areas, or where cricket is not available at local schools.

Other demands Momentum made are:

• The implementation of a four-year going concern assessment that would be conducted by independent auditors.

• The appointment of a lead independent director to the board with on-field cricket experience.

• Active and transparent engagement with the SA Cricketers’ Association.

The CSA board has defiantly maintained that it has the majority support of its member affiliates But that is disintegrating, with four of its 12 members resigning in a space of a week as the organisation lurched from one crisis to the next.

Sponsor Standard Bank last week announced it would not renew its sponsorship with CSA when it comes to an end next year, while cooking oil manufacturer Sunfoil‚ told the organisation to get its house in order or face the consequences.

The Central Gauteng Lions and the SA Cricketers’ Association (Saca) have publicly called for the disbandment of the board and its CEO, Thabang Moroe.

Moroe was suspended on misconduct charges‚ albeit on full pay‚ on Friday‚ as CSA wilted under pressure from the public to act. But the board announced that it would continue in office‚ despite the growing calls for its removal.

Responding to the demands made by Momentum‚ the CSA board said it would table the matter at its next meeting.

“CSA has noted the statement attributed to one of its partners (Momentum) and the contents of the statement will be brought to the attention of the board‚” the cricket body said on Thursday.

Saca‚ the players’ union‚ said on Thursday it maintains its position that the board should step down. “The board is accountable for the serious crisis in which cricket finds itself‚” CEO Tony Irish said.

“I don’t understand what this long response of theirs is saying. The board should make its position clear to all stakeholders‚ including the players. Are they intending to do the right thing, or are they intending to continue to cling to power?”

Meanwhile, Eastern Province Cricket said the CSA board was “doing a good job and is going nowhere” — and that calls for it to be dissolved were “nonsense”. Provincial president Donovan May said the board appeared to enjoy majority support from the members’ council.

May, who sits on the CSA board as a non-independent director, emphasised that the 14-member council has thrown its weight behind the Chris Nenzani-led board.

“I am in full support of the board. I find nothing wrong with the board at all and I actually think that they have been doing a good job,” he said.

“The board is united and the members’ council has given us the green light, as you heard the president say at our AGM at the weekend. It is the media which is driving this thing [calls for the removal of the board]. It is the media that is crucifying us.”

May said the majority of provinces expressed their support for the board at the annual general meeting at the weekend.

The Central Gauteng Lions resolved last week that “the entire CSA board, inclusive of its CEO Thabang Moroe, must resign with immediate effect”.

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