Johannesburg: Former South African cricket supremo Ali Bacher has called for a radical reform of the Constitution of Cricket South Africa (CSA). Delivering the keynote address at a fundraiser for the South African Police Widows and Orphans Fund, organised by former all-rounder Mike Procter, Bacher called the current constitution of CSA "flawed and no longer able to serve the interests of South African cricket".
Bacher, who led the United Cricket Board of South Africa for many years, was at the helm of transforming the game by uniting racially segmented organisations administering the sport before he oversaw its conversion to Cricket South Africa. Bacher said he was fully in support of the recommendations of the Nicholson inquiry into the financial affairs of CSA that was instituted by Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula.
The inquiry followed nearly two years of wrangling over IPL 2 bonuses that now suspended CSA chief executive Gerald Majola paid himself and other CSA staff without advising the board. IPL 2 was played in South Africa due to concerns over security during elections at the time in India.
Among Nicholson's recommendations, which have been endorsed by Mbalula and the current CSA executive, is that the body be restructured and have fewer board members than it has now, with a broader base of experience from various sectors, not just the cricket fraternity. "At present, this simply can't happen because there is a conflict of interest," Bacher said.
"If a provincial president makes a decision in the national interest that goes against his province, he'll soon find himself out of office," Bacher added, indicating that this could only be circumvented if the board had independent directors.
Commenting on how cricket has developed into a multi-billion rand enterprise worldwide, Bacher said it was critical to get a wide range of expertise into CSA. "We simply don't have enough expertise. We need experts on tax, marketing and big business," Bacher said.
Former CSA president Mtutuzeli Nyoka, who was twice ousted from his position after challenging the IPL 2 bonuses, came in for praise from Bacher. "Dr Nyoka took a stand against corporate malpractice but he has been isolated, marginalised and victimised," Bacher said.
In the Nicholson inquiry, evidence by CSA board member Ajay Sooklal related how he had been sent to provincial heads by Majola to lobby for the ousting of Nyoka. Nyoka took his first ousting to court and won re-instatement, after which he started the independent investigation by auditors KPMG that fingered Majola for the irregular bonus payments.
When Nyoka was again ousted in absentia and CSA failed to act decisively against Majola, an angry Mbalula set up the Nicholson inquiry, the recommendations of which are now seeing the suspended Majola subjected to CSA disciplinary action and investigation of possible criminal charges.