It is sad but perfectly understandable that cynicism and scepticism prevail regarding the composition of a new board of directors at Cricket South Africa, if and when one is ever convened. Not simply the definition of the word ‘independent’, but whether they will have cricket ‘credentials’.
After all, South Africans have become accustomed to cronyism and corruption for decades and the Zuma years have left most people concerned about the motives of politicians. Many a friend and cadre has been appointed to positions for which they were not suitable, not to mention the awarding of supply contracts.
Government intervention in sport is especially frowned upon and many lovers of cricket are understandably concerned about ulterior motives. I am instinctively one of them. Which is why I was especially keen to understand how the independent directors would be nominated and appointed.
The redrafted MOI is exceptionally detailed, but there is room for manoeuvre, as there has to be. Some allowance for debate and discussion has been incorporated to prevent lengthy delays every time a point of order is raised.
Previously, the appointment of independent directors has been a murky area of CSA’s constitution. Even if the process ‘looked’ straightforward, it was open to manipulation and abuse. And frequently was. As the administration crumbled in recent years, some appointments were no better than unilaterally made by individuals -with some woeful consequences.
The new MOI lays out a process by which independent directors will be nominated and appointed by a panel comprising both independent and non-independent professionals. The government, or Sports Ministry, does not have a seat on it.
It will be composed of six members:
*A former President nominated by the Board.
*A former South African men’s or women’s international cricket player nominated by the South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA)
*A person nominated by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants
*A person nominated by the Institute of Directors South Africa
*A person nominated by the Legal Practice Council
*A person nominated by the Members Council, provided that each such nominee should, mutatis mutandis, meet the independence criteria set out in article 6.1. 19.1.2.
The person appointed by the Institute of Directors South Africa shall be the chairperson of the Independent Director Nominations Panel.
(Mutatis Mutandis is medieval Latin, apparently. Lawyers love that stuff. Wikipedia says: Mutatis mutandis means…"with things changed that should be changed" or "having changed what needs to be changed" or "once the necessary changes have been made".)
The ‘independence criteria’ referred to are clearly laid out but, basically, preclude any current administrator within the game and anybody who has had an official affiliation to a province within four years. So, if former players Erroll Stewart or Adam Bacher were nominated, or a former administrator like Ray Mali, all would qualify as independent because the ‘cooling off’ period would have been comfortably achieved. Incidentally, all three would be excellent nominations.
Cricket lovers have nothing to fear or be nervous about with regard to the appointment of the new board. It is only the hardcore recalcitrants on the Members Council who have something to fear, and that is the overdue end of the amateur administration era.
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