CSA warns of ‘1000 job losses’ if board is derecognised by South Africa government
Joint letter signed by staff including Graeme Smith, as crisis looms for national body
Cricket South Africa’s staff have warned of more than 1,000 job losses if their organisation is derecognised by the country’s sports ministry, and have asked the Members’ Council and Inteirm Board to hold a “meeting of minds” to save the game.
In a letter, signed by all 72 members of staff which includes director of cricket Graeme Smith, issued on Saturday afternoon, the staff conveyed their dismay at the events which caused sports minister Nathi Mthethwa to use the National Sports and Recreation Act to intervene at CSA. Mthethwa issued his intention to defund and deregulate CSA yesterday, an action which is awaiting publication in the government gazette and could happen as soon as next Friday.
If Mthethwa’s use of the Act is published, CSA would no longer be recognised as the game’s official governing body and would not be permitted to hand out national colours, which means all representative teams including the men’s and women’s national teams would cease to exist. The wider impact of Mthethwa’s actions will affect everyone involved in the running of the game, something the CSA staff are concerned about.
“This intervention not only has the potential to put our jobs at risk, but also the jobs of people employed at our Member Boards,” the letter reads. “It also has the potential to set us back in terms of any sponsorships that CSA has acquired and any future sponsors who wish to be aligned to this great game, thereby affecting the day-to-day operations.
“We implore the Interim Board and the Members Council to go back to the table and have a meeting of the minds and find an amicable solution in the interests of all who serve this wonderful game and, by extension, the nation. We are of the opinion that an intervention of this nature would mean, to say the least, the disruption and destruction of all grassroots initiatives and ongoing projects, and the loss of more than 1000 jobs. These jobs affect the following, but not limited to, CSA staff, Member Board staff, cricket media, suppliers, sponsorship & hospitality services.”
The staff have noted that they have “continued with the tasks at hand in ensuring that operationally, the organisation continues to function irrespective of the happenings that were taking place at Board, Members Council and Exco level,” over the past 18 months during which CSA have lurched through several crises. They also reaffirmed their commitment to “restoring the positive, progressive and flourishing image that CSA once enjoyed in the public domain”.
The minister could reverse his decision to intervene if the Members’ Council – the body made up of 14 provincial presidents who have the highest decision-making power at CSA – agree to the establishment of a new memorandum of incorporation which contains a framework for a majority independent chair.
Thus far, they have not agreed to this and would prefer a majority non-independent board which would consist of several individuals on the Members’ Council. While it is not clear what the deadline is for an agreement to be reached, with government gazettes being published on Fridays, the matter has less than a week to be resolved.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent