JOHANNESBURG – On the same day Cricket South Africa fired its chief executive Thabang Moroe, Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa said he wants to see the forensic report detailing Moroe and possibly other CSA officials’ misconduct before the organisation’s Annual General Meeting next Saturday.
Cricket SA’s Board of Directors terminated Moroe’s contract following a board meeting yesterday morning, but it is unlikely that act will be the last in what has already been a protracted episode for the federation.
Following CSA’s announcement, Moroe’s lawyer Michael Motsoeneng Bill confirmed neither he nor his client was in the meeting.
“It was done in absentia,” said Motsoeneng Bill. He said Moroe would head to court to fight his dismissal.
In a statement, Cricket SA cited “serious misconduct” as reasons for firing Moroe, adding that the “decision was based on expert external legal opinion supported by the findings emanating from an independent forensic investigation”.
The statement added that Moroe had refused to co-operate with the independent forensic auditors despite being “offered sufficient opportunity to provide representations”.
The forensic audit report has become an albatross around CSA’s necks since Moroe was suspended on December 6 last year.
Cricket SA’s highest decision-making body, the Members Council, has twice in the last week called for the report which it commissioned to be handed over, but was rejected, with CSA company secretary Welsh Gwaza apparently giving a “long-winded” legal reason at a meeting on Monday that was met with displeasure by a number of Members Council representatives.
Yesterday, Mthethwa said he wants to see the report before the AGM. The sports minister added that at a meeting with CSA’s senior officials on August 17, he’d given them a two-week deadline to respond to concerns he had about the way the sport and organisation was being administered.
“We expect that by Monday (August 31) they will respond to substantive issues that the minister has raised with them. Their response will determine the course of action that he will take. We are ready to avail ourselves to their AGM but this is all dependent on how they respond to the fundamental issues that the minister has raised with them, such as allegations of malpractice, systemic racism, issues of corporate governance, et al.”
Moroe was appointed as Cricket SA’s full time chief executive in July 2018 after serving in an acting capacity following the “parting of ways” with Haroon Lorgat in September 2017.
Even before taking on the job full time, Moroe had antagonised the country’s players, questioning the importance of their union, the SA Cricketers’ Association.
Those remarks, made in December 2017, would be the start of what turned into an acrimonious relationship between the Saca, Moroe and ultimately CSA, leading to the players’ union taking CSA to court.
Having lost the trust of the players, Moroe also incurred the wrath of sponsors when he, as the central figure, oversaw the revoking of accreditation of five journalists.
That move in November last year proved the final straw.
Various sponsors called for him and the Board of Directors to resign and CSA ultimately suspended him.
It took nearly 10 months for CSA to act against Moroe.
It is certain not the end of the saga, with his lawyers already confirming they would take his termination to the courts.
Meanwhile, the forensic report remains under lock and key, and thus the identity of the officials who enabled Moroe remain unknown.
That may not be for much longer if the sports minister gets his way.
In the meanwhile, Kugandrie Govender remains the acting chief executive.