Letter to The Acting President of Cricket South Africa (CSA), Mr Rihan Richards

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13 Nov 2020
Today, I sent a letter to the Acting President of Cricket South Africa (CSA), Mr Rihan Richards. I copied the Chairperson of the Interim Board as well as the Acting CEO of CSA and the International Cricket Council (ICC).
 
Given that it was just under two (2) weeks ago that the Interim Board was established by agreement between the parties, namely the Ministry, the Members Council and the South African Cricketers Association (SACA), I made it clear that I am dismayed and deeply disappointed at the tone of his reply. It defies logic that within a very short space of time, Mr Richards alleges a breakdown in the relationship between the Interim Board and the Members’ Council. 
 
It is most revealing that Mr Richards does not allege that the relationship has broken down irretrievably.  I would therefore like to think that to the extent that there has been some or other breakdown, that the relationship can be restored immediately in the best interests of the game of cricket, and in the public interest. The nub of the matter is the perceived conflict of interest levelled against one member of the interim board, afterwhich the Interim Board had resolved that the member concerned would recuse himself from all and any discussions relating to the Global League. 
 
I need to state for the record that I have yet to exercise my powers of intervention accorded to me in terms of 13(5)(a) of the National Sport and Recreation Act No 110 of 1998, as amended (“the Act”).  It is evident that the game of cricket is in a state of complete disarray and that my intervention in terms of the Act, would not only be warranted, but would also be justified.
 
The Members’ Council has expressly acknowledged the failures of the previous Board of Cricket South Africa by dismissing the Board. A number of the Board Members also acknowledged their failings by resigning from the Board.  The game has lurched from one crisis to another on an almost daily basis.  Under these circumstances, I would be failing in my statutory and constitutional duty not to intervene in what is nothing other than the poor governance of a sport which is a national asset and which belongs to the people of the Republic of South Africa.
 
In conclusion, I find it most regrettable that Mr Richards has purported to take the decision not to recognise the Interim Board.  In my letter to him, I implored him and the Members’ Council to re-visit this decision immediately, and to afford the necessary recognition to the Interim Board, failing which, I will exercise my powers under the Act and issue a directive in that regard.  In the event that he fails to comply with my directive, I will not hesitate to impose the sanctions available to me in terms of the Act.  I sincerely hope that it will be unnecessary for me to take such drastic steps.
 
I have stood on the side-lines in the past almost two (2) weeks or so and I have been impressed with the vigour, speed, passion and independence of the Interim Board.  In fact, it would seem to me that they would be able to complete their task within the contemplated three (3) month period.  To do so, they require Mr Richards’ consent, and his co-operation; in order to get to the bottom of what is rotten in South African cricket.
 
-Nathi Mthethwa
 
[N.B. The full letter is available on our official websites]
 
Media enquiries:
 
Masechaba Khumalo: Spokesperson (Minister)
 
Mickey Modisane: Chief Director, Marketing and Comms (Sport)