Cricket South Africa (CSA) finds itself in a situation that one must ask the question, is it in the abyss already or heading for it? The interference by the government, political strife, personal conflicts and agendas have seen the organisation become dysfunctional with the resignation of the top leadership.
The sudden resignation of the President, Chris Nenzani, with only three weeks left of his tenure, is very interesting. Nenzani for months resisted the pressure from the media, cricket administrators and sponsors alike to resign only to capitulate three weeks before his time was up. Did he resign to make a point or was he pushed?
The resignation of the acting CEO, Jacques Faul, a month before his secondment was to end, is further testimony of an organisation that is in crisis and dysfunctional. Faul is the only person who has the experience and modern-day acumen to lead and manage South African cricket in 2020 and beyond.
It will be interesting to see what happens to Graeme Smith (Director of Cricket) and Mark Boucher (National Coach) now that Faul has left. Both were appointed during his tenure and the appointment process has been heavily questioned. Once again race is an issue from the Minster of Sport, Mr Nathi Mthethwa, accusing CSA of having too many white people in key management positions. My prediction is that before the end of the coming season they too will vacate their positions because of pressure and criticism. This will result in the crisis moving from the boardroom to the field of play.
The Minister has been in the face of CSA regarding race matters. Besides accusing CSA of too many white people in their top management, he has also said that if there are not eight black African players in the team before the Olympics, the team will not allowed to participate even though cricket is not an Olympic Sport. So what is he saying? Government interference in cricket is dangerous and can lead to South Africa being banned by the International Cricket Council, with dire consequences for the reputation of the country and the game.
CSA has appointed pointed the Vice-President, Beresford Williams, as the acting President until 5 September when they have their Annual General Meeting. So, this can change within the next three weeks. They have also appointed a woman as acting CEO, Kugandrie Govender, who was the Chief Commercial Officer. She is from the corporate and not the cricketing world. Not being from a cricket background, can she be a cricketing Churchill in CSA’s moment of need? Only time will tell.
There is no doubt that cricket faces its biggest crisis since the Basil D’Oliveira affair when he was banned in 1968 from touring South Africa with the MCC team (England). South African cricket is being destroyed by factions and politics. Without leadership that can create unity and cohesion, with the correct strategic decisions both on the playing field and commercially, it could easily be destroyed in a very short time.