Cricket in need of reform well down the order

08 December 2019 - 00:22 By sunday times
CSA CEO Thabang Moroe. File photo.
CSA CEO Thabang Moroe. File photo.

The manner in which Cricket SA's top structure has unravelled over the past week rivals the Hansie Cronje match-fixing scandal and the Gerald Majola bonus imbroglio for the sheer weight of negative publicity it has attracted. But the current crisis, which has so displeased CSA sponsors, is the manifestation of deeper, more widespread rot.

Many stood incredulous as the body stumbled from one crisis to the next, but their surprise is in itself remarkable, given that suspended CEO Thabang Moroe is a product of a system of self-serving patronage that is endemic in South African cricket, if not sport at large. After he was installed as CEO on a full-time basis he owned up that he did not have the necessary qualifications to hold the top job. The crises started stacking up - but, as one commentator wrote, "what do you expect when you make a former client service manager your chief executive?"

The fact that neither Moroe nor CSA president Chris Nenzani felt compelled to step away from their respective positions this week betrays their lack of moral fibre. Instead, Moroe is ducking brickbats and Nenzani trying to stay well below the parapet.

In September, thanks to careful manipulation of CSA's constitution, Nenzani was re-elected for another term in office. That Nenzani is equally detached from reality was clear when Moroe was appointed last year. "Mr Moroe's appointment follows a thorough and rigorous process to fill this important position," he said. That is hogwash. Moroe was vice-president of CSA when he was made acting CEO and he continued to occupy the inside lane when he was rubber-stamped into the full-time position.

It is time for CSA to reach into its collective conscience and do what is best for the game. Pruning only its highest branches will serve to placate a frenzied lynch mob, but it has to seek excellence from its rank and file, too, if the sport is going to regain the sustained trust of the public and, by extension, potential sponsors.

Of equal importance is that those who are appointed as independent board members should be alert and ready to act when warning lights flicker. It is, after all, quiet complicity that brought CSA to where it is today.