Picture: 123RF/SHANE WHITE
Picture: 123RF/SHANE WHITE

The transformation saga at the troubled Central Gauteng Lions took a dramatic turn after two board members resigned in protest at what they called a “blatant rejection of black Africans” on the provincial board.

Ntsongo Sibiya and Koketso Muller‚ who have served on the Central Gauteng Lions board since 2016 and belong to the Black African Cricket Clubs constituency‚ tendered their resignations on Monday.

Sibiya said he resigned as a matter of principle after the membership of the Central Gauteng Lions defied two reports from retired judges and a directive from the national governing body, Cricket SA.

“How do you serve a board or members that are clear and adamant that they will not support the black Africans? I’ve never hidden it from anyone‚ I am for the Africanisation of the game and that’s what most people know Ntsongo as.

“So for as long as there is this resistance to supporting the majority of black Africans on that board‚ I will not be part of that [Central Gauteng Lions board]‚” Sibiya said on Tuesday‚ a day after resigning.

Muller could not be reached for comment.

The resignations come in the wake of the majority of Central Gauteng Lions clubs voting against the recommendations of  the Langa and Ngoepe reports.

The two reports‚ one presented to the national governing body in 2010 and the latest one in December 2019‚ found that transformation in Gauteng cricket has merely reflected “cosmetic changes” over the years. The two retired judges ruled that black Africans should hold the majority of the seven seats reserved for non-independent directors.

Central Gauteng Lions last week put two items to the vote, the first being the voting status of one-team clubs and the second concerning the composition of the board.

Judge Ngoepe’s findings in his December report recommended one-team clubs should have equal voting rights as multi-team clubs and that the composition of the Central Gauteng Lions board should  be weighted in favour of black Africans to level the playing fields regarding transformation.

The Central Gauteng Lions clubs voted in favour of one-club teams enjoying equal voting rights but rejected Judge Ngoepe’s recommendation that the majority on boards should be black Africans.

Of the 42 clubs who voted electronically through a Johannesburg law firm appointed by the Central Gauteng Lions 35 submitted their ballots and 67% agreed one-club teams should have equal voting rights while 33% disagreed.

On the composition of the board‚ 68% voted against the findings and recommendations of the Langa and Ngoepe reports.

“In the wake of the results of the elections regarding the two special resolutions put forward to the Central Gauteng Lions members’ council‚ it is incredibly disconcerting to note that a vast number of clubs continue to reject black Africans as the majority non-independent directors within Central Gauteng Lions‚” the Black African Cricket Clubs‚ chaired by Sibiya‚ said in a statement‚ lamenting that the 75% quorum was not reached during voting.

“The blatant disregard of the recommendations set out by the former judges affirms the conviction of far too many members in the union: members are simply not prepared to embrace the all-important transformation project‚” said the Black African Cricket Clubs.

The Central Gauteng Lions accepted Sibiya and Muller’s resignations and wished them well.