Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced on Friday that chief executive Thabang Moroe had been suspended on allegations of misconduct as the body faces a mounting crisis.
Shortly before it was announced that Moroe had been suspended, the South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA) called for the resignation of Moroe and the entire CSA board, while a major sponsor announced it would not renew its agreement, linking their withdrawal directly to events which have engulfed the governing body.
It also followed a call by the Gauteng Lions, one of CSA’s major provincial affiliates, for the resignation of Moroe and the board.
Gauteng claimed the support of seven other affiliates, which would give those calling for change a majority on the 14-strong Members’ Council, which in turn elects the board.
CSA said in a statement that Moroe had been placed on “precautionary suspension” on full pay following reports from CSA’s social and ethics committee and the audit and risk committee. An independent forensic audit would take place.
Dave Richardson, the former chief executive of the International Cricket Council, would be consulted about the appointment of an acting chief executive.
In a statement issued after a meeting on Friday morning, SACA called for the appointment of a competent acting chief executive and an independent investigation into the affairs of CSA, including a full review of the organisation’s financial position.
– Industrial action ‘last resort’ –
“Extremely poor leadership, both at operational level and at board level, is what has got cricket into this disastrous position,” said SACA chief executive Tony Irish.
Although SACA raised the possibility of industrial action earlier in the week, Irish gave an assurance that such action would only be taken as a last resort and would not take place during a forthcoming tour by England.
“We are very aware of the importance of this series to the Proteas and to England, to the many fans from both countries and to the media and commercial partners.”
Irish said it was crucial to put in place a structure around the South African men’s team ahead of the England tour, “involving experienced, credible and reputable cricket people”.
The first of four Tests starts on December 26, to be followed by one-day and Twenty20 matches.
“The Proteas will be facing one of the best teams in the world,” said Irish.
“We know that the players will give 110 percent for South Africa on the field but it is critical that a proper professional structure is in place around the team.
“The way in which CSA has dealt with this to date, and the fact that nothing is in place, is totally unacceptable. It is ludicrous to expect players to be selected by unknown selectors.”
Earlier, a spokesman for Standard Bank, which sponsors the national team, announced they would not renew their agreement with CSA, which expires on April 30.
“In light of recent developments at CSA, which are a culmination of long-standing problems which have damaged Standard Bank’s reputation, it has decided not to renew its partnership,” said Thulani Sibeko, the bank’s chief marketing and communications officer.
The Central Gauteng Lions board demanded the immediate resignation of the board and Moroe following a meeting on Thursday night.
The CSA board is scheduled to hold an emergency meeting on Saturday following a week of drama sparked by the withdrawal of the accreditation of five journalists, which led to widespread criticism of events in South African cricket during Moroe’s tenure.
Two independent board members resigned ahead of Saturday’s meeting.