Clubs need to earn trust
MANY will disagree, particularly those in Cape Town, but there is no better place to watch cricket in South Africa than the Wanderers.
Obviously the sight of Corlett Drive apartments and a golf course do not make for a setting as picturesque as the rolling hills and flat-topped mountain that provide the backdrop at Newlands, but that is hardly the point. Whether full for an ODI or absolutely empty for a Supersport Series match, cricket at the Wanderers is like football at La Bombonera.
The venue is not without its problems, though. There is the constant struggle to find parking, and the difficulties that arise from having only one toilet cubicle for women in the media area.
But, those are trivial when compared with the current crisis.
Two weeks ago, a letter signed by 53.74% of the province's clubs was delivered to Gauteng Cricket Board president Ray Mali informing him his services were no longer needed and that they voted to remove five board members, all of whose last names began with the letter M.
The GCB responded swiftly and strongly, claiming the letter had no legal basis because the union is still under administration and that some of the signatures were obtained through intimidation.
A meeting was convened and a number of clubs withdrew their support for the letter, bringing the percentage of those in favour of it down to 48.5%.
Without a majority or the proper requirements to change the composition of the board, the plot failed. Mali will remain in office until August 31, the five Ms are safe and the GCB will continue to work on its new constitution.
Once complete, it should smooth out the previously weighted voting system which favoured premier league, and by implication, mostly white clubs.
The status quo has not changed and, it seems, neither have attitudes. When Cricket SA imposed Mali on the board, it was in response to both the questions raised by the GCB over the IPL contract and the racial problem plaguing the province.
We all know how the first turned out and the GCB has subsequently received apologies for the way it was treated, but it does not mean the GCB did not deserve to have big brother watching over it.
Its board was not equally representative, making it the most racially polarised union in the country. The only way to change that was to write a new constitution.
When Cricket SA tasked Mali with overseeing that process, there was little objection. Only now, 21 months later, have certain clubs decided they no longer want to cooperate.
Why they waited this long has not been explained.
They have demanded control of their own union back, which seems fair enough. What they have not done is show that they can be trusted to run themselves properly, fairly and inclusively and if they cannot do that, they do not deserve to have the power to govern at all.