Gauteng cricket faces fresh round of racial tensions

2020-05-06 17:02
Jack Madiseng
Jack Madiseng (Gallo Images)

The Central Gauteng Lions (CGL) is faced with a fresh round of racial tensions ahead of its long-overdue annual general meeting (AGM) on Saturday.

Two black non-independent directors, Ntsongo Sibiya and Koketso Muller, stepped down on Tuesday after the Members Council rejected recommendations made by Judge Bernard Ngoepe that the composition of the board continue to be made of majority black African members.

Current president Jack Madiseng will also step down from his post and not stand for re-election at the 9 May meeting, CEO Jono Leaf-Wright confirmed.

"Jack Madiseng is stepping down as president but he was stepping down ages ago," Leaf-Wright said.

"It has nothing to do with this issue, nothing to do with the composition [of the board]. He's got work and family commitments and he's assured me that he'll be by my side through this.

"He will assist us with partners and networking and will always be a friend of CGL and play a very big role in cricket in this province."

Judge Ngoepe, at Cricket South Africa's behest, inquired into whether the late Justice Pius Langa's objectives regarding transformation had been "substantially achieved" at Gauteng cricket. The judge found that they hadn't.

And instead of continuing with the Langa-mandated demographic split of the its non-independent directors on the seven-member board, clubs voted for an even split between the three constituencies and a "floating" seventh member.

Justice Langa mandated that of the three constituencies (including the Previously Advantaged Clubs and Concerned Cricket Forum) the Black African Cricket Clubs (BACC) should have majority (four) of the seven non-independent boardroom seats. This was vetoed by the Members Council last Friday.

BACC are now said to be considering pulling out of the AGM but will meet this week to discuss their way forward, which would add further fuel to the already raging fire.

Muller said his and Sibiya's decision to step down was made in his personal capacity and wasn't necessarily the decision of the BACC.

"We made a principled decision to resign," Muller said.

"Personally, I resigned because of what is happening now, which is the decision by the CGL's Members Council. It's going against the basic purpose of why I agreed to serve on that board, which was to see inclusivity of previously disadvantaged people, including coloureds and Indians but most importantly black Africans.

"If ever a decision is taken not to include the majority (black Africans) or to include them under these conditions, then I cannot serve on that particular board.

"When you say there must be a 2-2-2-1 split, you're basically saying the playing fields are level and we've reached the [end] of the journey of transformation. There can only be seven positions on the board but they say the 'one' must 'float' and must go to any race but why can't it go to the majority of the country?

"As per the demographics of the country, that 'one' should belong to black Africans. "

Leaf-Wright, who succeeded former CEO Greg Fredericks in August last year, said he wanted a board that wasn't manufactured along racial lines.

"The problem that we've got is that the black people on the board are accountable for black cricket, the whites for white cricket and the coloured and Indians for coloured and Indian cricket," Leaf-Wright said.

"That is my biggest issue. I want all members on my board to be accountable for all cricket. If the transformation agenda is the No 1 focus and priority in every board meeting by all seven board members and the five independent members, then surely we will achieve the vision.

"It's going to be up to all the members to vote for what I've requested: for unity, for solidarity and for diversity. I don't think there is distrust but in my opinion, people want to vote on their board of choice, regardless of the racial composition."

Cricket South Africa president Chris Nenzani was coy in giving his reaction to the developments at Gauteng cricket in spite the ramifications they could have for the governing body's board.

"It would be difficult for me to comment at this stage because I’ve just read about it," he said.

"I need to find more information about it. I don't want to make a comment that is not informed about what is actually happening."

Read more on:    csa  |  jack madiseng  |  cricket


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