You can’t hide crimes, if they exist, forever.

Cricket South Africa’s administration is paralysed and the game is desperately stuttering towards a restart while many of the people who have to make the big decisions are trying to protect themselves and their doomed reputations.

The Members Council, which comprises all of the provincial presidents with a president and vice-president added in, is the highest authority at CSA. It commissioned a forensic audit of the company’s management affairs and finances at the start of the year.

The move was widely applauded, especially by the country’s professional players – the SA Cricketers Association – which had been calling for transparency for over a year and had been forced to take CSA to court over various breaches of the MOU which exists between the two bodies.

That was nine months ago, although the forensic auditors, Fundudzi Financial Services, was unable to start its work until March. Still, it was nine months ago that they were engaged. Everybody thought it was a good relationship but gave little consideration to the baby which it has now produced – the report.

Bizarrely, CSA’s lawyers, Bowman Gilfillan, are calling the shots on how, how much, and to whom the report is available. They say they are wary of the implications of litigation. Let’s be clear about the law, and more pertinently, law firms.

People who have been fortunate enough to avoid any dealings with the law, and lawyers, are innocently inclined to believe they are paragons of virtue and stand up for all that is right, proper and fair. That they ‘uphold’ the law rather than ‘apply’ it when and where it suits them.

No. Bowmans were appointed by CSA company secretary, Welsh Gwaza, and the CSA account is worth somewhere between R6 million and R9 million per year to them. It is business they will do everything in their power to retain.

But here’s another thing. If the forensic report contains evidence, or suspected evidence, of fraud or theft over and above the value of R100,000, then CSA is legally bound to hand it over to the State, the National Prosecutor. Not doing so is also against the law. If someone, or some people, conducted an unlawful deal with Kookaburra for the purchase of cricket balls and equipment worth R900,000, for instance, it cannot simply be kept ‘in-house’ and dealt with internally.

The Members Council, which commissioned the report, aren’t being allowed to see it before signing an intimidating and punitive NDA – so why don’t the innocent ones just do that? “Because,” one of the good ones told me, “that takes you out of the game. Once we’ve seen the report we can’t talk about it. If we read the evidence which implicates a colleague, or a former colleague, or anyone else, we are effectively prevented from going after them.”

CSA recently, briefly, advertised for ‘independent director’ applications – applications closed on Wednesday so you’re too late if you were interested.

CSA’s HR manager, Chantel Moon, is handling the initial screening process before sending it to the nominations committee. Is this not compromising the integrity of the process? In 2016 and 2017 she did some consulting work for CSA on a part time bases, mostly in recruitment and interviewing. She reported to the then HR Manager, Musa Gubevu.

When Thabang Moroe became CEO he demoted Musa to a non HR position after a decade of service and appointed Moon to the head of HR, not as a permanent employee, but in her consultancy capacity at R120,000 per month. No proper HR processes were followed in the appointment of the head of HR. This, apparently, is ‘red-flagged’ in the Fundudzi report.

The only independent director not to have resigned is Marius Schoeman, who worked with Gwaza at the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants. Before that, Gwaza worked at Bowman Gilfillan.

If Gwaza and Moon are intent on hand-picking CSA’s next group of independent directors without the use of a properly appointed nominations committee, the mistrust and suspicion which has plagued the organisation for over two years will remain – possibly enhanced.

Some insiders say that CSA is ‘reviewing’ its own MOI with regard to the board of directors. But there will be no increase in the number of five independents, a significant minority. Until the Board of Directors is majority independent, the integrity of decision-making will remain compromised. Until the contents of the report are made readily available to the Members Council, the whole organisation remains compromised.

Meanwhile, some good news – away from the administration. CSA’s Operations Team continues to work hard on making the England tour in November/December this year viable. A bio-secure bubble is being planned in a luxury hotel about a kilometre from Newlands and the protocols which were established for safe international cricket in England in July and August are being recreated.

By the end of next month, we may dare hope, we could finally have something to distract us from the horror shop at the top. Distraction, of course, doesn’t necessarily mean removal.

Photos by Beatriz Pérez Moya and Mufid Majnun on Unsplash

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