CSA's Bumbling Card Is Still In The Doom-Spiral > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - CSA's bumbling board still in its doom spiral

"I find nothing wrong with CSA at all and I actually think that they have been doing a good job," Donovan May (left) told TimesLIVE.

"I find nothing wrong with CSA at all and I actually think that they have been doing a good job," Donovan May (left) told TimesLIVE.

Like a torpedoed ship, oil haemorrhaging out and water gushing in, Cricket South Africa's (CSA) bumbling board is deep in its doom spiral. It will not rise, but still it tries, the impending demise ever more desperately denied. The sad saga reached a diabolical level between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, when two board members veered onto opposing paths.

First Jack Madiseng, Gauteng's president, resigned his seat on the board, writing to president Chris Nenzani that "unfortunately moral and principle circumstances forced me to consider this action after witnessing the board refusing to take accountability and stepping down at the members council meeting [on Friday]". Then came a tirade quoting Donovan May, the Eastern Province president and a board member, on TimesLIVE, the online platform of a national media group: "I am in full support of the board. I find nothing wrong with the board at all and I actually think that they have been doing a good job. The board is united and the members' council has given us the green light, as you heard the president say at our AGM at the weekend. It is the media which is driving this thing. It is the media that is crucifying us." Look at May in this light and he bears a striking resemblance to Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, Saddam Hussein's information minister who in March 2003 appeared on television in Baghdad to say there were no American tanks in the city - even as they rolled through the background behind him.

You wonder what May makes of the ultimatum on Thursday afternoon from financial services firm Momentum, CSA's backer for one-day cricket from international level all the way down to the under-13s, that the company will "reconsider its ... agreement at the end of the current season" unless six "requirements" are met. Top of the list was the "resignation of the current board of CSA (alternatively resignation of the current president and vice-president [Beresford Williams]) in order to address the leadership crisis at CSA". The South African Cricketers' Association has made the same demand, twice, and on Monday the declared they would "not lend credibility to the board of CSA by dealing with a 'negotiating panel' if this comprises any board members".

We don't have to wonder what Madiseng thinks. "If someone had to be fired or dismissed, in all honesty, the entire board should be fired or dissolved for rubbishing CSA's brand," he wrote in a letter to Nenzani and Williams on November 29.

Despite how this looks, Madiseng and May are from the same planet. That wasn't always the case. Not long ago Madiseng was a staunch defender of Thabang Moroe, CSA's chief executive, who was suspended on Friday for his role in taking the game dangerously close to self-destruction as a professional going concern. A few weeks ago May was said to be willing to go on record about his concerns over how the board were running the game. He was understood, for instance, to have opposed Moroe's appointment as chief executive - surely a conflict considering Moroe was CSA's vice-president - as well as the organisation changing their constitution to afford Nenzani a seventh year as president.

Contacted on November 20, May shouldered arms: "I cannot speak to you regarding these matters. You know only the CSA president can speak to the media regarding CSA matters. I can only speak to media regarding EP cricket matters. I'm sure you can understand." We understood. But, clearly, he has changed his mind. Apparently not, and that despite the compelling evidence to the contrary, as quoted above. "As discussed I can only speak on behalf of Eastern Province Cricket," May told Cricbuzz on Thursday. That was also his answer when he was asked to confirm his reported stance on Moroe and Nenzani. Pressed on the latter, he said, "I cannot comment as I was not on the board to make any appointments. I only recently got into the board."

That much is true. May joined the gravy train that is CSA's board, whose members could earn up to USD 27,250 a year, in February - not quite four months before his home ground, St George's Park in Port Elizabeth, was named as one of the venues for the four Tests England's men's team will play in South Africa this southern summer. St George's, the country's oldest international venue, last hosted an England Test in 2004. Since then, crowds at Centurion, Newlands and the Wanderers, and even Kingsmead - which like Port Elizabeth struggles with low attendances - have seen the English in two Tests. As many as 12,000 Barmy Army members are expected to turn up this summer, and the Eastern Cape city's depressed economy could do with a week of steadily pinkening Poms proffering pounds at pubs, pizza parlours, and places to stay.

But we cannot say for sure that May's supposed change of heart about Moroe and Nenzani was the price he was willing to pay for the privilege of hosting cricket's biggest regularly travelling circus, and he would hardly be willing to say it was. So, back to the original question. May has been Eastern Province president since March 2014, which means he has sat on CSA's highest authority, the members council, which has the power to dissolve the board, for more than five years. Did he oppose, in his capacity as a senior administrator, the appointment of Thabang Moroe as CSA's chief executive in July 2018 and the extension, this July, of Nenzani's term as president? "Like I said, the board makes those appointments," May said. We tried again. Did he, as a senior administrator entrusted with doing what's best for cricket in his province, agree with those developments at the time? And had he changed his mind? "I, unfortunately, have to board a flight now." Cricbuzz told him we expected an answer when next he was available. So far, we've not heard him, and there doesn't seem to be much point pursuing a sorry excuse for an elected official who, having been asked a similar question four times, continues to hide from answering it.

There is no longer need to bother Madiseng for comment. He is the first non-independent member to ditch a board that has also lost three of its five independent directors. But there is no gaurantee we won't see him again: putting as much daylight as possible between himself and the sinking ship would seem a canny move for someone who is thought to have designs on the CSA presidency. Like Arnie, he will no doubt be back. For now, though, Madiseng has left us food for thought. Among the reasons he gave Nenzani for resigning was "your press statement that was meant to have been presented on December 3, 2019". Cricbuzz has been reliably informed that, last Tuesday, "Chris was to make the statement that Thabang Moroe was not acting on his own accord, as per the picture painted in the media, but that he was following instructions from the CSA board". Hark: a smoking gun.

Four days later Moroe was suspended and that narrative was no longer useful to Nenzani, Williams and May, along with Zola Thamae, Tebogo Siko, Angelo Carolissen, Steve Cornelius and Marius Schoeman - the rest of this risible, miserable, execrable bunch of suits. To own up to their complicity in the calamity would have been dangerous to their survival, and was therefore unutterable. For CSA's board, that's all that matters - not the public, not the sponsors, not the players, and certainly not the game. It's all about them. And they have the sickening audacity to call themselves custodians. Of what, exactly?

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