Cricket’s moment of reckoning


Jacques Faul’s allegations of Cricket South Africa being captured must prompt an immediate independent investigation, writes RYAN VREDE.

Faul, Cricket South Africa’s former acting CEO, on Sunday told Rapport: ‘South African cricket is currently being captured by a powerful faction – that is my biggest worry. I have sleepless nights about it. For the first time it feels as if we are facing problems that could mean the end of CSA. Our 2012 crisis was a baby compared to this.’

The 2012 crisis he refers to was the battle to keep hold of power despite the Gupta family – who were responsible for capturing an entire sovereign state – trying to wrestle it away.

‘I am fed up and powerless. I left because sometimes one person isn’t capable of solving such a problem,’ Faul declared.

Rapport named Welsh Gwaza, secretary of CSA, and independent board member Eugenia Kula-Ameyaw as the individuals to whom Faul refers to as having agendas to capture the organisation. Faul told the paper the final straw in his decision to resign three weeks before the CSA AGM was when Kula-Ameyaw bought a full-page advertisement in the Sunday Times worth R521,000 without any permission.

At the time of writing CSA hadn’t issued a statement on the matter. When it comes, expect it to refute the allegations and seek to discredit Faul. That is the way of CSA these days.

There is no reason to believe Faul is lying. The organisation has stumbled from one crisis to another for nearly a year. There is a glaring lack of competency in executive leadership at a time when that quality is so desperately needed. What Faul alleges seem legitimate because the fruits of that type of leadership are plain for all to see.

Any other cricket governing body, save perhaps for the power drunk BCCI, would take these allegations extremely seriously and launch an independent investigation into the matter. CSA is mandated to serve the game in South Africa, so any attempt to derail it from that mandate needs to be dealt with as a matter of urgency.

But with an acting president and CEO in place, who will drive the process? The other option is to seek government’s intervention, but this is laughable given not only a lack of competent leadership there, but also a culture of deeply-entrenched corruption. The wolves cannot tend to the sheep.

The Hawks, which targets organised crime, economic crime, corruption, and other serious crimes, should be leading this charge. However, they have a string of new appointees, including a new head. Add to that an enormous workload, dominated by investigations into Covid-19-related corruption across the country, and it seems unlikely that this will even reach Godfrey Lebeya’s desk. But, again, despite proclamations of independence, this remains a governmental body.

So, where does that leave us? The players must make their voices heard and lean on acting CEO Kugandrie Govender to take decisive action. This assumes she isn’t part of the problem. Likewise, commercial partners need to demand CSA cleans its house. Finally, the public outcry needs to dial up.

This is an organisation that exists to serve the game, not itself or the interests of individuals within its ranks. The potential that CSA is in the process of being captured should alarm us all because it means that the game in this country could be captured.

But the game belongs to the people and decisive action is needed in order for the people to retain ownership.

I don’t know who will take such action. This is a defining moment in our game’s history.

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