Picture: GALLO IMAGES/SYDNEY SESHIBEDI
Picture: GALLO IMAGES/SYDNEY SESHIBEDI

Cricket SA crumbled under pressure in parliament on Tuesday and agreed to hand over an unedited version of the forensic investigation report to the portfolio committee on sports‚ arts & culture before the end of business on Friday.

Cricket SA had an emergency members council meeting on Tuesday while a delegation was being grilled by the members of the portfolio on the organisation’s failure to allow unrestricted access to the forensic investigation report.

So tense were the proceedings that independent board member Marius Schoeman‚ who chairs the audit and risk committee, which is responsible for the dissemination of the forensic report‚ told MPs he would resign should Cricket SA fail to hand over the full report by Friday.

“If Cricket SA does not submit the forensic report by end of business on Friday‚ I will resign‚” said Schoeman. “I will not allow anything [in the report] to be omitted.”

He was asked by the committee members why he did not resign along with other board members who quit Cricket SA late in 2019 as the organisation lurched from one governance bungle to the other. Schoeman said he wanted to leave Cricket SA in a better position than had he found it when appointed to the organisation.

“I was appointed through a very rigorous process. To leave Cricket SA where it is would not be in my nature‚ and I will not do that. [But] if the members council‚ who have elected me‚ want to remove me I will accept that‚” Schoeman said.

Cricket SA acting president Beresford Williams also committed himself to handing over the forensic report on Friday.

“On behalf of Cricket SA I just want to recommit that we will deliver on our promise‚” he said. “Thanks to everyone for the contribution. We will make the full report available as committed [on Tuesday].”

Cricket SA has handed over the full report to sports‚ arts & culture minister Nathi Mthethwa with no conditions‚ but the organisation wants the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc)‚ the controlling body of sports federations in the country‚ to sign a non-disclosure agreement before it gains unrestricted access to the document.

Sascoc deputy president and Athletics SA boss Aleck Skhosana called on Cricket SA to stop playing games. “What Cricket SA is saying [about the unrestricted release of the forensic report] is very concerning‚” Skhosana told the MPs.

“They are playing the same game they played with the Sascoc board. They promised without delivering the very same report. I am learning that there are two members that are implicated in reports‚ including acting president Beresford Williams.

“We want unrestricted access to the full report‚ not what is being distributed through the media. Cricket SA is a public entity.”

Schoeman said Cricket SA needs to go back and consider how to protect the organisation’s image before it releases the full report.

“Why must they go back and try to hide things or protect themselves first?” asked the DA’s Tsopo Mhlongo. Ringo Madlingozi of the EFF said: “I believe the report should be sent to us as soon as  possible‚ because the report is ready and sitting somewhere.”

Almost all the portfolio committee members registered their discomfort in allowing Cricket SA some time off before it invites it again to present the full unedited forensic report.

Cricket SA independent board member Dheven Dharmalingam‚ who was appointed in May‚ said he understood the frustrations of the committee members.

“In terms of my role I chair the finance committee‚” Dharmalingam said. “I have got no allegiance to any single member on the board or any cricket structure. So I speak with complete independence.

“The real issues are the people who are mentioned in the report‚ not that they are guilty but the way they have been mentioned is problematic. This needs to be done through a proper legal process‚” Dharmalingam said.

Sascoc board member Cecilia Molokwane said Cricket SA wants to govern and regulate itself. “As Sascoc we have taken a board resolution which is not far from the one that has been taken today [on unrestricted access to the full forensic report].

“Cricket SA does not want to follow protocol. They choose who to engage with. They have given the minister the full report but not to us as the controlling body.”

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