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Two members resign from troubled Gauteng cricket board in protest over transformation

05 May 2020 - 18:01 By Tiisetso Malepa
Central Gauteng Lions CEO Jono Leaf-Wright has always maintained that he wants a board that is free of any constituencies.
Central Gauteng Lions CEO Jono Leaf-Wright has always maintained that he wants a board that is free of any constituencies.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

The transformation saga at the troubled Central Gauteng Lions (CGL) took a vicious turn after two board members resigned with immediate effect in protest to what they call a “blatant rejection of black Africans” on the provincial board.

Ntsongo Sibiya and Koketso Muller‚ who have both served on the CGL board since 2016 and belong to the Black African Cricket Clubs (BACC) constituency‚ tendered their resignations on Monday.

Ntsongo said he resigned as a matter of principle after the membership of the CGL defied two reports from retired judges and a directive from national governing body Cricket South Africa (CSA).

“How do you serve a board or members that are clear and adamant that they will not support the black Africans?

“I’ve never hidden it from anyone‚ I am for the Africanisation of the game and that’s what most people know Ntsongo as.

“So for as long as there is this resistance to supporting the majority of black Africans on that board‚ I will not be part of that (CGL board)‚” Sibiya told TimesLIVE on Tuesday‚ a day after resigning.

Muller could not be reached for comment at the time of publishing.

The resignations come in the wake of the majority of CGL clubs blatantly voting against the recommendations of both the Langa and Ngoepe Reports.

The two reports‚ one presented to the national governing body in 2010 and the latest one in December last year‚ found that transformation in Gauteng cricket has received “cosmetic changes” over the years.

The two retired judges ruled that black Africans should enjoy the majority on the seven seats reserved for non-independent directors.

CGL last week put two items to vote - the first one being the voting status of one team clubs and the other being the composition of the board.

Judge Ngoepe’s findings in his December report recommended one team clubs should have equal voting rights as multi team clubs and that the composition of the CGL board should be weighted in favour of black Africans to level the playing fields in regards to transformation.

The CGL clubs voted in favour of one club teams having equal voting rights but rejected Judge Ngoepe's recommendations which called for the majority to be black Africans on the board.

Of the 42 clubs who voted electronically through a Johannesburg law firm appointed by CGL‚ 35 submitted their ballots and 67% agreed one club teams will have equal voting rights while 33% were in disagreement.

On the composition of the board‚ an overwhelming majority‚ 68%‚ voted against the findings and recommendations of the Langa and Ngoepe Reports.

“In the wake of the results of the elections regarding the two special resolutions put forward to the CGL Members’ Council‚ it is incredibly disconcerting to note that a vast number of clubs continue to reject black Africans as the majority Non-Independent Directors within CGL‚” BACC‚ chaired by Sibiya‚ said in a statement‚ lamenting that the 75% quorum was not reached during voting.

“The blatant disregard for the recommendations set out by the learned former Judges affirms the conviction of far too many Members in the Union: Members are simply not prepared to embrace the all-important transformation project‚” said BACC.

CGL accepted Sibiya and Muller’s resignations and wished them well.

“The CGL board wishes to thank both Mr Sibiya and Muller for their invaluable contribution towards the development of cricket in the province especially in the previously disadvantaged communities‚” CGL said in an emailed statement to TimesLIVE.

On the CGL members’ council defiance of the Ngoepe findings‚ CGL said: “CGL is a Non Profit Corporation (NPC) fully controlled by the ‘Members Council’ made up of three constituents i.e. Previously Advantaged Clubs (“PAC”)‚ being traditionally white clubs; the Concerned Cricket Forum (“CCF”)‚ comprising so-called coloureds and people of Indian origin‚ and Black African Cricket Clubs (“BACC”).

“CGL would like to categorically state that this is ‘shareholder’/ ‘Members Council’ matter and has no bearing to the day-to-day operations of the NPC or CGL. All Members Council matter are tabled and addressed at the ‘shareholders’ or ‘members council’ meeting which is the AGM.

“CGL has no further comment on this matter as it relates to shareholders.”

CSA did not respond to questions at the time of publishing.