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Rejected CSA interim board fires back at Members Council

Responding to a letter by acting president, Rihan Richards, which outlined why the council had taken such steps, interim board chairperson Zak Yacoob acknowledged that the two parties were far apart in their understanding of their mandated roles.

Former justice of the Constitutional Court, Zak Yacoob.  Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The rejected interim board at Cricket SA has hit back at the Members Council after they opted not to appoint them following government intervention.

At the end of October, Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa appointed a nine-person interim board to steer the ship for three months as the organisation attempted to rebuild itself after a tumultuous year.

But just 13 days later, the council, which is the highest decision-making body at the organisation, rejected the board due to “several unresolved issues”.

They accused the temporary structure of “overstepping and disregarding agreed upon duties, responsibilities and lines of accountability; and ultimately, a breakdown in the relationship between the Members Council and the proposed interim board”.

Responding to a letter by acting president, Rihan Richards, which outlined why the council had taken such steps, chairperson Zak Yacoob acknowledged that the two parties were far apart in their understanding of their mandated roles.

“We start by saying that our understanding of the position is very different from what is said in the letter to be the understanding of the Members Council,” he said.

“Indeed we may say at the outset, that the 'reasons' as communicated to us appear to be self-serving, opportunistic, misleading and if we may say so, very short-sighted as far as the interests of cricket in South Africa is concerned. We elaborate our understanding.”

Yacoob then explained that the minister called on the board “to serve as an independent interim board to resolve well-aired difficulties faced by CSA over the years, and, over the next three months to try and ensure an annual general meeting by the end of that time so that an independent, untainted board would take CSA forward with integrity”.

In relation to alleged unhappiness over former CSA CEO, Haroon Lorgat, being drafted into the board, Yacoob explained that to the best of their knowledge, there was an agreement between the minister and the Members Council on exactly who was to be appointed.

The Members Council then “undertook to formalise the appointment so that the interim independent board would have the necessary authority and power to clean up cricket in South Africa”.

Yacoob has also come out firing in lambasting the behavior of the Members Council saying, through Richards, they have adopted a strategy to pretend to cooperate in the process but ensured that every effort was made to obstruct work.

“It is for this reason and only for this reason that the interim board has not been appointed,” he claims.

Yacoob further adds that the board should not be accountable to the Members Council in every way.

“Each of these entities have their own powers and responsibilities in term of the relevant enabling provisions,” he said. “It occurs to us that the real reasons is to prevent us from doing our work independently and outside the Members Council control. We refuse to subject ourselves to any control and sacrifice our independence in the performance of our duties and in the interests of cricket.

"The Members Council should also remember that the executive is accountable to the board if the board had been appointed and not the other way round. We assumed that the Members Council would act honourably and confirm our appointment. We, therefore, acted as the board and gave instructions to the executive. The executive balked at this because they were too accustomed to doing what they wanted to do without any accountability. They apparently complained and the Members Council was somehow, morally wrongly persuaded to take up their cudgels in the letter under reply, in support of the executive for no justifiable reason.”

Despite the obstacles to doing their job, the interim board say they will "continue to act in the public interest to carry out our mandate. We reject any instruction from you as superfluous and will approach the media at our discretion in the public interest and in interests of SA Cricket as distinct from the narrow interest of some executive member or any other entity".

The Sports Minister is yet to respond to the latest developments at the cricket body while the interim board is expected to hold a press briefing on Friday.