So many unanswered Welsh questions

There is an awful lot which doesn’t make sense in and around Cricket South Africa at the moment. There has been for over two years. So many questions.

Let’s start with a really gentle one and work upwards. Why has Momentum remained so quiet for nine months after demanding, in December, the resignations of the entire CSA board – or at the very least president Chris Nenzani and vice-president Beresford Williams?

CSA’s most important and largest sponsor, Standard Bank, opted not to renew their R75million sponsorship deal in March this year citing the “reputational damage” to its brand being associated with the delinquent administration of the game. Perhaps Momentum believed that its association with the Proteas Women’s team would offset all the other collateral damage. But this week they finally spoke up again.

“We are not satisfied with the current situation at CSA or with the slow progress since we urged CSA in December 2019 to take specific urgent steps to address the governance challenges it has been facing,” said Carel Bosman, Momentum’s head of sponsorships. He said the financial services giant had been “in talks” with CSA “…to keep them accountable to do the right thing.”

“We all want to see a governing body that is run professionally and ethically, and one that considers all stakeholders of the game. Our sponsorship contract expires in April 2021, and we will soon be able to communicate more regarding the outcome of our contract review process,” Bosman said.

That’s more like it. Momentum’s annual sponsorship is worth a little less than half of Standard Bank’s but, nonetheless, it is desperately needed income. I may be wrong but Mr.Bosman sounds more than a little irritated and “…will soon be able to communicate more regarding the outcome of our contract review process” sounds ominous.

But the Members Council did nothing in December and they’re unlikely to dissolve the board now seeing as half of them sit on both.

But onto something far more curious. The Members Council commissioned the forensic investigation into former CEO Thabang Moroe and the finances and administration of the organisation. Fundudzi Financial Services duly delivered a 468-page report, on behalf of the Members Council.

CSA’s lawyers, Bowman Gilfillan, then refuse to release the report because it might implicate some board members in the financial irregularities and mismanagement which have so obviously plagued the organisation for so long. Remember, half of the Members Council also sit on the board. Still, there is the other half.

They were told by Bowman Gilfillan that they could only read the report if they signed a legally binding Non-Disclosure-Agreement – and then only if they presented themselves at the Bowman Gilfillan offices in Johannesburg, Durban or Cape Town and read the report there. There was no mention of whether overnight facilities would be provided for those unable to process a 468-page forensic audit in a single day.

It is no doubt the duty of CSA’s lawyers to protect the ‘best interests’ of their client, but the report was commissioned by the Members Council – it belongs to them, not Bowman Gilfillan.

Following the sacking of Moroe and the resignation of his acting replacement, Jacques Faul, and president Nenzani, CSA company secretary, Welsh Gwaza, has assumed control of the organisation. He took charge of the list of in-house and independent directors nominations before the now postponed AGM and had all official correspondence destined for Nenzani and Faul redirected to his desk.

Welsh Gwaza is running the show but is doing so without raising his head above the parapet. No public appearances, no press conferences and no answering questions. He is the all-powerful mystery man.

Kugandrie Govender is now the acting CEO having worked in cricket for nine months and with no previous experience of being a CEO – anywhere. She recently confirmed that it was CSA’s policy in future to hire only black consultants, on and off the field. It prompted considerable media attention, as it would. It was, after all,  unconstitutional. It also prompted a CSA press statement:

“CSA has noted with much sadness, the recent media reports about the organisation’s position on transformation and with specific reference to the use of consultants and particularly white consultants.

“The media reports around the statements made by our Acting Chief Executive are not a correct reflection of the sentiment that CSA had sought to convey.”

So, was it the ‘media reports’ or ‘the statements’ that were ‘not a correct reflection’? Shooting the messenger is easy when you don’t like the message but, in this case, claiming to be misquoted was impossible because the quotes were in writing.

Anyway, back to the issue I really don’t understand. This landed in my inbox yesterday. It’s from the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) website – the archive section. It confirms just how smart Welsh Gwaza is and provides a short insight into his background.

Senior Executive: Legal & Governance

Welsh Gwaza joined SAICA in 2014. Welsh is an admitted attorney and notary public and he holds 2 (two) Master of Laws (LLM), LLB and BA degrees. Previously, Welsh was a legal advisor at The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited, and at Bowman Gilfillan Inc.

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