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Yacoob to CSA members’ council: Ratify board or face losing England tour

13 November 2020 - 16:40 By Khanyiso Tshwaku
Former Constitutional Court Judge Zak Yacoob
Former Constitutional Court Judge Zak Yacoob

Interim board chairperson retired justice Zak Yacoob has laid down the law to Cricket South Africa’s member’s council.

His message: that the interim board are not going anywhere. And also that and there could be dire consequences if the member’s council doesn’t ratify the board.

The firmness of Yacoob’s message came after CSA’s press conference on Thursday where CSA’s acting member’s council president Rihan Richards said CSA’s highest decision-making body decided not to appoint the interim board because of a breakdown of trust in their working relationship.

One of the consequences of ministerial intervention would be the stripping of national colours and federation status; which leads to the cancellation of tours as the International Cricket Council’s constitution frowns upon government interference.

The cancellation of England’s limited overs tour can and will lead to serious financial issues for CSA.

England is set to arrive in South Africa on Monday while the members’ council will be meeting on Friday night.

Yacoob said the members’ council didn’t seem to understand the ramifications of their actions.

“If the ICC decides to step in and exercise its power‚ it won’t be because we decided. The steps we took with the minister were to precisely avoid an ICC step-in‚” Yacoob said.

“If they do step in‚ it won’t be because we did all of this while the board was in administration and resisted reasonable efforts to fix things up.

“The minister [Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa] has threatened them [the members’ council] and it’s really something that they need to decide on Friday evening. He said he would withdraw recognition if the member’s council doesn’t revisit this matter.

“If the members’ council does not take appropriate decisions‚ England will be seriously discouraged from coming here.”

Yacoob‚ who agreed that the board weren’t appointed by the members’ council‚ instead relying on a gentlemen’s agreement‚ said the member’s council broke their promise.

“Everyone accepted that we would be appointed. Everyone accepted that the members’ council was going to legitimise our appointment and proceeded on the basis that they would legitimise our appointment‚ so there was an understanding.

“The minister believed they would legitimise us and they didn’t‚ breaking their promise‚” Yacoob said.

One of members’ council’s issues was the appointment of CSA’s former chief executive officer Haroon Lorgat to the board.

Yacoob said the matter had been raised and dealt with‚ but the member’s council was using Lorgat’s issue as a red herring as a smokescreen to hide their own issues.

“The Haroon Lorgat matter was raised two days after the appointment was made. They had agreed to it and I told the members’ council that I saw no conflict because he did do things with the affiliates with the loans. The Fundudzi report mentions these things‚ but doesn’t say what Lorgat did wrong.

“I gave them an undertaking that if this matter is raised and the issue of the loans to provinces comes up‚ Haroon will be recused and he’ll have no part in the board dealings at all. Haroon also agreed he won’t be part of any discussion with relations to this matter.

“This matter should have been resolved and in the manner in which they are behaving‚ the Lorgat matter is just a red herring. They have too much to hide. That’s my opinion and they can prove it wrong.”

Through its CEO Andrew Breetzke‚ the South African Cricketer’s Association voiced its displeasure with regards to the members’ council flip-flopping.

“We are back to square one‚ and the glimmer of hope has now been replaced by further disappointment and confusion‚” Breetzke said.

“At a time when our domestic cricketers are excelling‚ and we are about to welcome England to our shores‚ the governance structures of CSA are again in crisis.

“We have addressed formal correspondence to the members’ council advising them of our dismay at their decision‚ and highlighting their disregard for the welfare of players in passing this decision.”