Stavros Nicolaou addresses Cricket SA's interim board virtual press conference, April 22 2021. Picture: LEE WARREN/GALLO IMAGES
Stavros Nicolaou addresses Cricket SA's interim board virtual press conference, April 22 2021. Picture: LEE WARREN/GALLO IMAGES

Cricket SA’s interim board chair Stavros Nicolaou had the look of a man close to conceding defeat on Thursday in the battle to push for the contentious proposal to amend the organisation’s constitution to allow for a majority independent board.

In a desperate, last-ditch attempt to get the controversial amendments passed during a virtual media briefing on Thursday‚ Nicolaou asked the members’ council (MC) to do what they failed to do at Saturday’s failed special general meeting — to vote for a majority independent board and an independent chair.

“We have and will continue to commend those affiliates in the MC that voted positively for change‚” said Nicolaou. “For those that didn’t vote positively‚ regrettably‚ our disappointment continues to endure.”

The motion was defeated after it garnered only 46% of the 14 votes instead of the 75% needed.

“There is only one thing that can be done and that is the MC resolves to [agree to reach a 75% needed majority to pass the amendments]. We will work with them to get the memorandum of incorporation over the line. I am really hopeful that this can be done because I can’t see any other option.”

There have been concerns that the interim board’s conduct at the special general meeting — to exert pressure on the MC to agree to a majority independent board and chair — had elements of an unethical and undemocratic demeanour about it.

“I think you are right and I agree‚” said Nicolaou when asked if the interim board’s conduct at the meeting was undemocratic before trying to justify it.

Despite the admission‚ Nicolaou contradicted himself later when asked if they expect the MC to vote in a manner that violates their compliance membership with the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc).

“First of all, I am not compelling anyone to vote in a particular way‚” said Nicolaou. “I am just looking at a practical solution of how you can resolve this.”

If the MC had voted in favour of the interim board’s proposals‚ Cricket SA risked a suspension from Sascoc‚ the sports mother body. Nicolaou said the MC could hide behind process but “you either have the conviction to do something or you don’t”.

“If you have got that conviction you will find ways to remain compliant within the confines of the law. They must find a resolution around it and they are quite able to do that, quite frankly.”

Another concern from the MC‚ which contributed to the failure to pass the amendments on Saturday‚ is that the Cricket SA membership or affiliates believe the idea of a majority independent board and an independent chair is not practical at provincial and grassroots levels.

The members are concerned the motives behind the insistence for the proposed amendments are not only for the national level‚ but Nicolaou dismissed the worry and said the interim board’s directive is only at national level.

“Our mandate is not to look at Western Province or KZN [KwaZulu-Natal] or anyone‚” said Nicolaou.

The existing Cricket SA constitution memorandum of incorporation‚ however‚ states that affiliates must mirror those at national level.

“That’s not our mandate here. Our mandate is Cricket SA‚ which is an entirely different entity to any of the affiliates and union.

“I’m afraid the track record of Cricket SA has not been good when you have had a majority of non-independent directors. The track record is there and plain to see.”

In the wake of the failure to pass the amendments‚ sports minister Nathi Mthethwa twice threatened the Cricket SA MC that he would invoke his powers in terms of section 13 (5) of the Sports Act‚ and withdraw government funding and recognition of the organisation. But he is yet to do so.

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