• Report reflects depth of despair in SA cricket

    A summary of the Fundudzi forensic report paints a picture of Cricket South Africa as a more deeply dysfunctional organisation than we’ve ever imagined, writes RYAN VREDE.

    And this was a summary. I get chills thinking about what degree of corporate incompetence and maladministration is detailed in the full report, which was presumably withheld from the public because of CSA’s potential legal exposure.

    The report paints the picture of former CEO Thabang Moroe as the villain of this awful soap opera. It contains many allegations against him, including:

    – That he spent nearly R65,000 on alcohol using a CSA-issued credit card

    READ: CSA releases summary of forensic report

    – Was at the heart of revoking the media accreditation of five of the country’s most senior and respected journalists (presumably because he simply didn’t like what they were writing)

    – Dragged his heels in signing off the players’ payments – totalling nearly R3 million – due for the 2018 Mnzanzi Super League (it was invoiced for in February 2019 but only paid 10 months later)

    – A clutch of situations where he simply ignored correspondence on important matters

    – Being deemed responsible for CSA having to pay ‘Service Provider X’ nearly R3m despite not following the procurement process (CSA will likely open a corruption case against him for this)

    – Gross incompetence in managing the step-in processes pertaining to the Western Province Cricket Association and North West Cricket

    – The appointment of an unqualified human resources consultant, Chantel Moon, without following the correct procurement processes, illegally changing the reporting lines for this person so she reported directly to him, and being responsible for paying her nearly R1.3m for the period 2017 to 2018 for ad hoc HR work despite her not having a signed contract.

    – Playing a role in CSA being recommitted to a R6.5m contract for security services after the initial contract period ended, instead of the contract going out to tender, as per CSA’s procurement processes.

    The allegations against Moroe are serious and, if true, speak to an incompetent and ethically compromised leader who was not fit for the role.

    However, it also speaks to a culture of corporate passivity, tolerance and compliance that one man would be allowed to get away with such acts as detailed in these allegations.

    What exactly were the rest of the board doing to arrest this behaviour? How was Moroe, with the assistance of a couple of alleged co-conspirators, able to get away with what is alleged on their watch? How and why did CSA’s executive leadership allow this man to fundamentally compromise the game’s governing body?

    That would be a report I’d be interested in to read.

    Beyond the Moroe allegations, there are other deeply troubling details in the report, not least of all that the Western Province Cricket Association is drowning in a mountain of debt it is never likely to financially recover from.

    This stems mainly from loans it made from CSA to fund construction at Newlands Cricket Ground totalling nearly R88m, the majority of which it has not paid back and most likely never will.

    The WPCA has been in steady decline for years, but the latest revelations drive home the depth of the trouble at the once mighty association. The region has traditionally been one of the most talent rich in the country, supplying the game’s elite professional ranks with players of exceptional standard.

    Right now it’s not even certain if the body can host a club cricket season, given its dire financial situation. It is a cricket travesty of WPCA’s own making.

    Former WPCA president Beresford Williams is now the acting president of CSA. The man who oversaw the steady demise of a giant in the South African game, is now being tasked with contributing significantly to CSA’s recovery. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

    WPCA is not alone in its struggles. There is no association in SA that is functioning at anywhere close to optimal efficiency. The Northerns Cricket Union is the best of a sorry bunch, comprising 12 affiliates. The report details investigations into allegations of mismanagement at the North West Cricket Union, alleged fraud within the Impala Cricket Union, alleged irregularities within North West Cricket and urges CSA to consider investigations into ‘Cricket Union B’.

    It is a mess and while one man is at the centre of attention, the game as a whole is in deep trouble.

    CSA has a mandate to serve the cricketing public. The game belongs to the people and the people must demand decisive action to be taken against those alleged to have captured aspects of it, and that a reformation plan be developed and implemented in order to stabilise CSA and its affiliates.

    This is the most defining moment in our game post-isolation. It needs to be treated with the urgency and care it demands.

    Post by

    Ryan Vrede