- CSA’s Members’ Council spoke to the media, but left a lot of questions lingering about the reasons for hiding the Fundudzi Forensic Services report.
- The council said it was legally advised to withhold the report, for fear of legal backlash from those implicated in its 20 findings.
- The same Fundudzi report findings were not good enough to suspend any implicated directors or officials, despite being used to fire ex-CEO Thabang Moroe.
Cricket South Africa’s (CSA’s) Members’ Council on Thursday failed to convince the public of their reasons for keeping hidden the contentious Fundudzi Forensic Services external audit report into the organisation.
With the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) sanctioned task team circling, CSA knotted webs around itself on the Fundudzi report, which the former has refused to view on restricted terms.
The crux of CSA’s argument is that, because of potential legal implications of releasing the report, non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) were needed to signed by Sascoc to view the report or opt to see the summary report (compiled by their attorneys Bowmans) without that aforementioned prescript.
Limpopo Impala Cricket vice-president and CSA non-independent director John Mogodi tried to explain how the Members’ Council, after last weekend’s two-day meetings, came to accepting that the report should remain hidden.
“I have to stress that the report has been made available to all the Members’ Council members, but the proviso was that you had to sign non-disclosure agreements before reading the full report,” said Mogodi.
“There were no less than 20 findings in the report. We were taken through each finding by CSA’s legal team. And we were also quite concerned before going into that day because we wanted to see what was in that report and who is implicated and why has the report not been released to the public.
“Through the engagements on that day (last Saturday), we then got to understand the legal risks thereof. We also asked why was Sascoc not provided with the report and it was explained to us that Sascoc was provided with the report, provided that they sign an NDA, which the president of Sascoc then refused to sign.”
Indeed, Sascoc flatly refused, leading to the current stand-off between the two organisations. The impasse could drag for weeks or could come to an explosive conclusion.
Sascoc acting president Aleck Skhosana said they weren’t afraid to “take measures to ensure compliance”, should CSA not hand over unrestricted access to the report.
What CSA failed to explain was how the report was, if the allegations are serious enough to have the implicated people’s names protected, for fear of legal recriminations, why were they not serious enough to suspend those officials or board members?
Anne Vilas, the Central Gauteng Lions president (CGL), said: “I don’t think there’s an investigation on any persons in the report that would warrant us getting them suspended right now.
“There is stuff going on right now. It’s not that the report is out there and everybody’s stopped working just because there’s a report.
“Things will happen, and I hope you can trust us on that.”
Mogodi also said there needed to be a “third party”, which would further investigate the whooping 20 findings already handed to them by Fundudzi Forensic Services.
To media observing at the virtual press conference, it appeared as though the Members’ Council did not trust the Fundudzi report enough to act against its implicated board members and CSA executives.
Yet, in its statement after last Saturday’s meeting, the Members’ Council promised that “a plan was presented and adopted to take steps to implement the recommendations and to act against relevant parties”.
“After going through the report, it was also explained to us that only three independent directors at CSA have seen the report, for reasons that it needs to be dealt with as independently as possible.
“The Members’ Council resolved in that meeting to get a third party, an independent legal firm, to then draw up a roadmap and update the Members’ Council about how the findings are being dealt with,” said Mogodi at Thursday’s press conference.
The other question that went unanswered after more than an hour’s worth of talking was: How come the Fundudzi report was good enough to summarily terminate former CEO Thabang Moroe’s employment contract, but not good enough to have anyone else even suspended?
Mind you, Moroe was allegedly suspended on far less – “an email” from former social and ethics committee chair, Professor Steve Cornelius.
“Unless we firmly believe that something is being withheld from us on the board members that have been mentioned in the report, we don’t feel it’s sufficient for them to resign or to stand down,” said Vilas.
What should send further chills down cricketing spines was that the Members’ Council backed the current board, whose members might be implicated in the Fundudzi report, to continue serving until the AGM is eventually held, most likely in November.
“We’ve been given advice that, if they are standing for positions at the AGM, there’s nothing wrong with them standing,” Vilas said.
Acting CSA president Beresford Williams, who served as former president Chris Nenzani’s vice in the period under review (2016 to 2019), said he didn’t see it fit to resign like Nenzani did in the midst of the cricket crisis.
“I [needed to take] a decision that, either I move on or I continue to serve,” said Williams, who has designs on standing for the presidency on a permanent basis.
“I took the decision to continue to serve the game that all of us love, that I’m passionate about.
“I’ve been a servant of the game at various level. If there is anything where I have acted irresponsibly or not in the best interests of the game as a director, I would have had no hesitation to move on.
“I believe I’m still committed. I’m passionate and I believe I can still contribute to the game and serve the game. I chose not to go.”