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Ken Borland

Fresh CSA cabal includes Majola’s fiercest backers 0

Posted on June 10, 2013 by Ken

Hopes that Cricket South Africa’s new board will steer the sport’s administration away from the scandals of the Gerald Majola era look set to be dashed because the new dispensation seems to be merely setting up a fresh cabal that includes several fierce supporters of the former chief executive.

The new regime at CSA will revolve around lead independent director Norman Arendse and the current board is dominated by his supporters.

The new board is made up of people like Andy O’Connor, who was Majola’s right-hand man, and Peter Cyster, another strong supporter of the central figure in the bonus scandal. The new directors come from provinces like Griqualand West, Easterns, Border and Boland.

The new CSA non-independent directors, elected on February 2, are president Chris Nenzani (Border), vice-president Cyster (Boland), O’Connor (Easterns), Beresford Williams (WP), Graeme Sauls (EP), Fa-eez Jaffar (KZN) and Rihan Richards (GW).

When the nominations committee initially recommended Arendse for one of the independent directorships, the CSA board were vehemently opposed to his appointment. Now, less than four months later, that same board has voted Arendse as the lead independent director and it seems favours were offered to secure his appointment.

Cyster was previously totally opposed to Arendse but is believed to have voted for him and is now the vice-president. Graeme Sauls, who has been on the board for just three months and has been an anonymous figure, is president of Eastern Province who were fierce opponents of Arendse. But they too are believed to have gone for him and Sauls now has a seat on the board of directors. Richards is another provincial president who has only been on the board for a short, anonymous while and is now a director.

Those smaller provinces have recently been getting more international games and there is the fear that Nenzani’s new board will just be puppets run by Arendse.

And neither government nor Sascoc are likely to interfere in CSA’s return to gravy-train administration, despite both of them signing the Nicholson Commission’s findings and agreeing to help implement all of the retired judge’s recommendations.

While sports minister Fikile Mbalula can’t really flex his muscles anymore in the wake of backing the wrong horse at Mangaung, there is perhaps a more sinister reason why Sascoc have ditched their original support for Nicholson’s recommendations and backed Arendse in his bid to be considered as an independent director despite the fact that he is an honorary life president of Western Province cricket.

Arendse can go to Western Province board meetings and vote, but he said he does not participate. But anyone who is aware of Arendse’s domineering personality will find that hard to believe. When he was the president of CSA between 2007 and 2008 he tried to do the jobs of both the CEO and the convenor of selectors. Merely observing is not this man’s style.

The same rule that stated independent directors could not have been involved in cricket for three years counted against SK Reddy from KZN, but for Arendse it’s okay.

Sascoc’s about-turn perhaps has its roots in an allegation of attempted bribery Arendse made against their president, Gideon Sam, that was revealed a year ago.

Arendse alleged that while he was chairing the adjudication committee for a R7-billion state tender in 2008 he was offered an “open chequebook” bribe by an individual claiming to represent Cash Paymaster Services (CPS).
Arendse refused to confirm or deny the identity of the inducer, but the Mail & Guardian said Arendse named Sam when he recorded the incident.

The tender is now the subject of court action by one of the bidders who failed to win the contract, but it could be telling that Advocate Arendse never reported the attempted bribe to the police, as required by South African law.

The franchises are almost bankrupt and always begging for money, which is how CSA keep them under control. CSA are always pleading poverty, but their income from broadcast rights runs into 10 figures every four years. Apparently, independent directors at some franchises have refused to sign the annual reports because technically the franchise is insolvent.

The best people for the jobs are certainly not being elected at CSA, even though the Companies Act states quite clearly that directors must always act in the best interests of the company and not themselves. The same people who ignored the Companies Act in allowing Majola his free reign are ignoring the same law again.

Both Archie Pretorius of North-West, the chief forensic auditor for one of the leading mining houses, and chartered accountant Vincent Sinovich, who were coincidentally two of the minority who were critical of Majola, have been sidelined as directors.

Cyster, a dentist, is now the non-independent director who sits on the finance committee.

And there could be further trouble ahead for CSA when it comes to appointing their new CEO to replace Jacques Faul.

Former International Cricket Council CEO and Proteas selection convenor Haroon Lorgat is the overwhelming favourite for the post, but that could be disastrous for South Africa’s standing in international cricket politics.

Reports from India make it clear that the Board of Control For Cricket in India will be reconsidering the special relationship between the two countries should Lorgat be appointed.

The former ICC CEO was the chief nemesis for the BCCI when it came to furthering their agenda at the global level and the way leading Indian administrators have openly taken the credit for Lorgat’s contract not being renewed suggests the same bad reaction will afflict the alliance between them and South Africa.

Majola withdraws from ‘illegitimate’ hearing 0

Posted on October 17, 2012 by Ken

Suspended Cricket South Africa CEO Gerald Majola on Wednesday withdrew from the organisation’s disciplinary hearing against him, rejecting the lawfulness of the proceedings and preferring to go directly to the Labour Court.

Majola is denying allegations of misconduct over bonuses he received without proper clearance and his lawyer, Pumezo David, told Business Day that the entire disciplinary process is illegitimate.

“We feel there are fundamental points that are unfair to Mr Majola in that the establishment of the Nicholson Inquiry by the minister of sport was unlawful and it’s only because of that inquiry that CSA instituted disciplinary proceedings.

“The minister exceeded his powers according to the Sports and Recreation Act. Section 13 (5) does not give him those powers, it’s limited to him referring a matter to mediation or issuing a directive. The hearing therefore emanates from an unlawful act and therefore cannot be fair or legal,” David said on Wednesday.

CSA’s lawyer, Nicholas Preston, said, however, that Majola was merely trying another ruse to cover up the dirty truth.

“He said he wanted a forum to clear his name and now he’s decided to withdraw from it! This process started close on two years ago and he has participated up till now. They’ve sat on this decision for a while and they’re only crying foul now when things are going against him,” Preston said.

Preston said Majola’s withdrawal from the disciplinary hearing would have no effect.

“The law provides for us to proceed without the accused, but the chairman of the hearing [Advocate Karel Tip] made it 100% clear to both parties that he will examine CSA’s evidence and make sure the case is heard properly even without Majola being present. His independence is unquestionable and, in fact, he tested some of our evidence most thoroughly today,” Preston said.

The CSA lawyer said he did not believe Majola’s chances of gaining relief from the Labour Court were very good.

“The Nicholson Inquiry was properly appointed even though Gerald argued against that both at the advisory award and at this hearing. Both John Myburgh [advisory hearing] and now Karel Tip have dismissed that argument,” Preston said.

David said Majola’s withdrawal certainly did not signal a throwing in of the towel by the former CEO.

“We will be laying down our challenge to the Labour Court and obviously they can review and set aside any decision made by the disciplinary hearing,” David said.


SA rugby’s archaic structure marring the game 0

Posted on September 09, 2012 by Ken

Suspended Cricket South Africa CEO Gerald Majola may or may not have committed a crime when he marred that sport’s reputation so badly, but in a way the whole bonus scandal did the game a favour; it has ensured a revamp of its administrative structure, belatedly dragging it into the professional era.

Cricket South Africa have announced they intend to restructure their board to comprise five independent directors and five drawn from their Members Forum (the 11 provinces), which had me thinking the pressure is now firmly on the South African Rugby Union to do the same.

The whole shameful handling of the Southern Kings vs. Lions Super Rugby situation is a direct consequence of the archaic structure of South African rugby. The General Council, comprising representatives of the 14 provinces (CSA don’t include Northern Free State, Mpumalanga and South-Western districts), watches over the game in this country and they had the final say when it came to next year’s participation in the Sanzar tournament.

But many of these 14 gentlemen are tin-pot dictators and, almost without exception, they all concentrate on the individual interests of their province rather than the broader good of South African rugby. And then there is the anomaly that the smaller unions (those in the Currie Cup First Division) have the same power as Western Province or the Sharks and consequently have been known to sell their loyalty/vote to the highest bidder.

Lions President Kevin de Klerk inherited a union that was in an absolute mess and on the verge of bankruptcy. De Klerk, the former Springbok lock, is a thoroughly decent man but his battle to keep the Lions in Super Rugby was doomed to fail because he based it on good old amateur rugby principles of “fair play”, “what’s good for the game” and a handshake being a firm agreement.

His problem was that the other unions – even those that had pledged their support – were only ever going to look after themselves. De Klerk had hinted at the five Super Rugby unions banding together to save the Lions, but in the end the Gautengers have been banished.

They’re singing a sad old song at Ellis Park these days, but their own naivety and desperately poor results have been partly to blame. They now find themselves in the mud at the bottom of the pond but, just like the Natal Rugby Union did in the 1980s when they were relegated to the Currie Cup B Section. The Lions have to find a way to rise like a Lotus flower and restore their reputation as one of the finest teams in the country.

And what of the Kings’ chances in Super Rugby?

Cheeky Watson, the president of the Eastern Province Rugby Union (Epru), admits that there is still plenty to do.

“The important thing for us is to deliver a professional team that attracts attention, which we have succeeded in doing, and now it’s time to build the foundational structures: our academy, a working relationship with the (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan) university, and to put structures in place at the bottom.

“With 120 clubs spread all across the region and wonderful schools, this is a sustainable franchise. A lot of building still has to be done, but that cannot negate the fact that the foundation is unbelievably strong. It’s just to get the two to meet: the professional team and the foundational structures,” Watson told SA Sports Illustrated.

Much has been made of the Southern Kings’ transformation credentials, that they will provide a lot of black rugby players to the national cause.

But scratching beneath the surface, transformation does not seem to have been a roaring success in the Eastern Cape either.

Ithembelihle High School in New Brighton Township is probably the most successful black schoolboy rugby team in the country. But despite beating the likes of Framesby, Newton, Despatch, Muir College and Daniel Pienaar Technical High, and proving themselves to be competitive in the Grey High Easter Festival, Ithembelihle complain that Port Elizabeth’s white schools no longer want to play against them and that they have received precious little support from the Epru.

One look at their facilities seems to prove the point. Sports Illustrated reported they did not have a scrum machine and that their field resembled “a stony sandpit in summer, a lake in winter and a subtropical grassland in between”.

And why is this river of black talent not flowing into their provincial teams?

Last weekend, the EP Kings fielded just three Black Africans – Mpho Mbiyozo, Jongi Nokwe and Siyanda Grey – in their 22-man squad for the match against the Valke.

The Border Bulldogs were marginally better with four, while the combined figures for the two teams at U19 (8/44) and U21 (10/44) level suggest the Kings need to concentrate on transformation as much as anyone else.

Of course, the big five unions have relied on Eastern Cape talent, especially to boost their player-of-colour numbers, for many years. But they clearly figured out that if they turned their back on the Lions, another source of players, with more top-level experience, would suddenly become available.

Flyhalf Elton Jantjies has been on a mini-tour of the country in recent days to check out where he should sign on the dotted line and the likes of Pat Cilliers, Franco van der Merwe, Jaco Taute, JC Janse van Rensburg and Derick Minnie will surely soon be on their way too.

And, in a competition where the local derbies have been notoriously tough, who is more likely to beat the Bulls – the Lions or the Southern Kings?

I know who my money would be on.

CSA winning on three fronts 0

Posted on July 13, 2012 by Ken

Cricket South Africa (CSA) have won a major battle in their disciplinary enquiry against former chief executive officer Gerald Majola and are also making progress in their efforts to restructure their board to align with the recommendations of the Nicholson Committee.

Acting chief executive Jacques Faul revealed in Sandton on Friday that the chairman of the displinary enquiry, Advocate Johan Myburgh SC, had handed down an advisory award in favour of Cricket South Africa, finding sufficient reason for Majola to be fired.

Majola and his legal team have not accepted the advisory award, which is non-binding, and the case will now proceed to a full disciplinary hearing, where witnesses and cross-examination can now be included in the process.

In more good news for cricket, Faul also announced that he had withdrawn his resignation letter because those board members who were apparently unhappy with how he carried out his responsibilites now backed him.

“I’ve withdrawn my resignation because I now feel that I have the support of the board. I wasn’t sure before, but I’ve subsequently had numerous calls from board members stating that they back me fully,” Faul said.

A smaller board, with more independent representation and greater corporate skills were amongst the key recommendations made by Judge Chris Nicholson after his hearing into Majola and the bonus scandal, and CSA acting president Dr Willie Basson said this process was still firmly on track and now had the full backing of the board.

“It was a very severe Nicholson report, his findings had great implications and his recommendations were difficult to accept. But after today’s meeting, I can categorically state that there is a very strong resolve to complete the process as closely as possible to the judge’s recommendations,” Basson said.

“The reality is very simple, we had problems with our governance structure and it was at odds with how it is developing across the world. It’s all about smaller boards now, that are more skilled and have more of an independent presence. The board has accepted these proposals and made peace with them.”

The benefits of a smaller, more independent but better skilled board are that cricket should be run more efficiently, they will be better attuned to corporate South Africa and provincial presidents can then concentrate more on their own constituencies, without clouding issues of national importance with their own agendas.

CSA will then be divided into two bodies – a professional board and a members’ forum made up of representatives from all the provinces, associates and aligned bodies.

Basson said a nominations committee would be formed and will provide the current board with a list of people to sit on the new structure.

“The nominations committee will have independent members and will be appointed by the board to identify potential independent board members. Through advertisements and submissions by the public, they will sift through the candidates and then the final choice will be made by the members’ forum,” he said.

In the new structure, the members’ forum will meet perhaps three times a year and decide on broad policies for cricket in the country, while providing “checks and balances” to the board.

The smaller, independent board will meet monthly and be responsible for implementing those policies, the day-to-day operations of cricket and monetary issues.

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