Minister of sport Nathi Mthethwa. Picture: VELI NHLAPO
Minister of sport Nathi Mthethwa. Picture: VELI NHLAPO

For those who don’t quite understand the machinations that led to sports minister Nathi Mthethwa threatening to "derecognise" the Proteas cricket team this weekend, you’re not alone. Essentially, the debacle illustrates that SA’s sports administrators are entirely out of touch with modern standards of governance. So much so that it’s hardly surprising that, every few years, we learn that some or other official has fleeced their sport.

In this case, a group of cricket officials belonging to the "members’ council" voted against a new constitution for the crisis-ridden Cricket SA (CSA). This constitution would have brought CSA into the modern era, obliging its board to have a majority of independent directors.

This is a basic governance standard — yet those officials couldn’t have cared less, as it would have diminished their own power. It was a thumping triumph of self-interest over what would have been good for cricket.

Mthethwa’s threat forced the officials to the negotiating table, and to agree to the new constitution. With their power now curbed, hopefully, CSA can be fixed. Nonetheless, this spat illustrates the crisis of governance (and talent) in the administration of our sporting codes, which mirrors the wider collapse in corporate ethics. Let’s hope this is a watershed event for SA sport in general.

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