CSA set to elect an independent chairman
THE next chairman of Cricket South Africa’s (CSA’s) board will be one of the new independent directors and will not be drawn from the ranks of the provincial presidents, as has hitherto been the case.
In that way, CSA plans to avoid what acting president Willie Basson on Wednesday described as the "vested interests and the manipulation behind the scenes that normally takes place".
But the move, approved by a CSA board in the midst of sweeping restructuring efforts, is causing rumbles in the underbelly of cricket administration and elsewhere in South African sport.
A nominations committee formed of independent members and chaired independently is set to name, by the end of the month, candidates for the five nonaligned directors’ positions.
One of those directors will become chairman of CSA’s board. The vice-chairman will be the CSA president, who will be part of the members’ forum, which consists of the presidents of the 11 provincial affiliates, five of whom will also have seats on the board.
Previously, the chairman of the board and the president were the same person.
As an experienced cricket administrator, the vice-chairman will represent CSA at national and international levels.
The provinces, meanwhile, will retain an important place in CSA structures. "The board will be held accountable by the (members’) forum, which will be accountable to the affiliates," Basson said.
The measures are part of CSA’s response to recommendations made by judge Christopher Nicholson following his investigation into the payment, without proper clearance by the board, of R4.7m in bonuses to 40 CSA staff members.
Basson said the independence of the nominations committee — which went beyond Judge Nicholson’s recommendation that it be chaired by the CSA president — was key to the success of the plan.
"The implication of that is that we remove all those vested interests and the manipulation behind the scenes that normally takes place," Basson said. "We have set very strict criteria, which Nicholson never did, in terms of skills, capabilities and mental make-up and more.
"One component of the board will be totally independent and highly professional. Now it’s up to the affiliates to nominate five provincial presidents who conform to more or less the same criteria with respect to skills, capabilities and possible contribution," he said.
The president of the Griqualand West Cricket Board, Rihan Richards, said the affiliates were satisfied with the new system.
"We don’t need power because our structures will be good enough," Richards said. "The presidents’ council (members’ forum) should still control South African cricket.
"If we don’t write our policies now, and we don’t follow through, then we are going to lose cricket.
"But I do not feel threatened by having an independent chairman," said Richards.