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SASCOC Joint Media Briefing with Cricket South Africa

Much has by now been written and said about the SASCOC Resolution adopted on 8 September 2020 whereby SASCOC resolved to appoint an independent Task Team to conduct investigations into the administrative, operational and/or financial affairs of Cricket South Africa.  This Resolution was not lightly adopted.  Very serious issues have plagued CSA over many months culminating recently in the departure of its President, and the highly-respected Acting CEO, Mr Jacques Faull.

SASCOC is the Sports Confederation for all Sports Federations within the Republic of South Africa, and of course is recognised by the International Olympic Committee (“IOC”) and International Paralympic Committee amongst others.  In terms of the National Sports and Recreation Act of 1998, it is also recognised by law as the sole Confederation for all codes of sport within the country.

Cricket South Africa is a Member of SASCOC, and as such, is required to comply fully with the SASCOC Constitution.  To the extent that it does not do so, SASCOC has a legal and constitutional duty to enquire into the reasons (if any) when one of its Members falls into disrepute, and becomes beset with problems that diminishes its standing with the public, and in particular, the players and ex-players, stakeholders, and sponsors.

Cricket South Africa on its own initiative has already requested SASCOC for assistance.  The difference between their request, and the SASCOC initiative, is that Cricket South Africa effectively wanted SASCOC to serve as some kind of sub-committee on the CSA Board.  SASCOC is not prepared to do so.

There can be no doubt that the public, current and ex-players, stakeholders, and sponsors have lost all trust and confidence in the CSA Board.  This is evidenced on a daily basis when calls are made for the CSA Board to step down, or to step aside.  SASCOC has a duty to listen to these calls, and to investigate the alleged issues and problems for themselves.  In terms of the law and the SASCOC Constitution, SASCOC can do so on its own initiative, or at the request of any interested party.

SASCOC initially attempted to meet with the CSA Board on two (2) occasions, the first one was quite cordial, and the second was cut short when CSA had refused to make available to SASCOC the much-talked about forensic report.  It continues to be CSA’s position that the forensic report will only be made available to the SASCOC President, and the Board Members, on a restricted basis.  No reasonable person can effectively enquire into the affairs of Cricket South Africa without having full access to the report, and without the assistance of legal and/or forensic experts.

SASCOC has acted in good faith, and in the best interests of the sport in the country by adopting these Resolutions.  It is manifestly not an attempt to place Cricket South Africa under administration.  It is an intervention by independent Task Team members for a very limited period during which they will remain accountable to SASCOC, and the Members’ Council of CSA.  The latter owns the game, and are the custodians of cricket within the Republic, not the CSA Board.  It is contemplated by the Resolution that the Task Team will consult with the Members’ Council as the need arises and that the Task Team will also seek the authority of the Members’ Council for the CSA Board, and those employees who serve on its ex officio, to step aside or to take special leave on full pay.

There have been some reports expressing concern that the SASCOC intervention amounts to political interference.  We can assure you that this is not the case.  The SASCOC Board is composed both of Presidents of various sporting Federations, as well as Members appointed by the IOC, the IPC, and the Athletes Commission.  They all exercise their minds independently, and rationally based on the information and evidence placed before them.  The calls for the CSA Board to step aside, and for CSA to be investigated have become louder and clearer, and more strident, on a daily basis.  In the face of this, coupled with ample evidence of malpractice and acts of misconduct, it would be irresponsible and would be neglecting its legal and constitutional duties not to do so.

The Minister has not instructed or directed the SASCOC Board at any stage.  We are aware of meetings held between the Minister and the CSA Board where he has expressed his disquiet, and deep concern about the state of cricket in this country.  According to reports, the Minister has also met with other role-players.  The Sport Portfolio Parliamentary Committee has long since expressed its deep concern about the state of cricket, and was promised the forensic report by CSA’s former President, Nenzani, in June already, but this promise has been broken, and the undertaking to do so, breached.  In a general meeting that was held with the Minister yesterday, he expressed his appreciation for the initiatives taken by SASCOC in attempting to conduct enquiries into the affairs of CSA so as to restore its credibility and he is fully supportive of our intervention.

The Presidents that form the Members’ Council of CSA have similarly been denied unrestricted access to the forensic report although we are advised that at a meeting that took place over the weekend a presentation was made to them on certain aspects of the report.  SASCOC’s concern is that notwithstanding the report having been discussed with the members counsel, we simply cannot be certain that they would have been proper consultation with the members of the respective unions as the Presidents act on a mandate from their respective Boards.  How are they expected to obtain a proper mandate from their Boards when they are not permitted to share the contents of a report which they commissioned with the Members of their Board?  That is why the refusal to make the report available on an unrestricted basis is both irrational, and unreasonable.

The SASCOC was pleased to meet with the members counsel on 14 September 2020 when robust discussions took place with regard to the way forward and during which meeting SASCOC was at pains to advise the members of the reasoning behind SASCOC’s intervention. It was made abundantly clear to them that this was not government interference but an investigation that was prompted by SASCOC having received complaints from various parties who are concerned about the administration of the game. The members counsel was invited to also make a nomination of a suitable candidate to be appointed to the task team so that they could be satisfied that they are part of the process after all, the SASCOC intervention is to assist them in the administration of the game of cricket.

However, it should be noted that the investigation is a SASCOC driven process and it is only SASCOC that will determine the persons who will be appointed to the task team as well as their terms of reference to ensure the independence of the task team and to remove any notions of bias in their investigative process.

None of the SASCOC Board Members will serve on the Task Team.  The Task Team will be composed of men and women of high quality, and high integrity.  They are not affiliated to any Sports Federation, and have reputations as being fiercely independent. Furthermore, it is the task team and not SASCOC that will conduct the investigations and make recommendations on the measures that need to be implemented in order to stabilise CSA. CSA will be expected to implement those recommendations and naturally should they fail to do so, then SASCOC will have no alternative but to take appropriate measures to ensure compliance.

It should be noted that the forensic report is only one aspect of concern to SASCOC as they have been several other issues of concern raised that require consideration and investigation. Consequently, it should not be construed that SASCOC is merely intervening to force the forensic report being made public. We have given the CSA members counsel an undertaking that the report, once received will only be discussed between the board and its advisory team and will not be published as SASCOC respects the rights of the persons implicated in the report. However, SASCOC awaits the report as a demonstration on the part of CSA of its bona fides in engaging with SASCOC and cooperating with the investigation. Should the report still not be forthcoming than unfortunately SASCOC will have no alternative but to resort to other measures to ensure compliance. It should also be noted that SASCOC has communicated with the ICC and will keep them informed of the process as it unfolds.

Accordingly, we call upon members of the public and the media, and in particular cricketers and ex-cricketers, and stakeholders involved in cricket, including the sponsors, to give this process a chance so that we can restore cricket to its former glory, as soon as possible.

 

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