Seven-and-a-half years ago, Judge Chris Nicholson released his report into the conduct of administrative affairs at Cricket South Africa.
The Nicholson Commission of Enquiry was set up in the wake of the ‘bonus scandal’ which unfolded in 2009.
It’s findings eventually led to Gerald Majola’s exit as Cricket South Africa’s chief executive, after Majola had been found to have contravened various clauses in the Companies Act.
However, scanning through that report, there is also a broader warning for Cricket SA and their administrators.
Whether it be Nicholson himself, or some of those who gave submissions at the inquiry – including former MD Ali Bacher, former CSA president Norman Arendse and the current chief executive of the SA Cricketers’ Association Tony Irish – a consistent theme was present, regarding oversight.
Majola was allowed to get away with what he did because those to whom he was supposed to report – the CSA board – didn’t do their jobs properly.
A lot of that was down to politics. Majola had craftily manoeuvred to ensure there was little oversight for him.
He held briefings behind board members’ backs and ensured the right administrators were granted just enough ‘gifts’ – whether that be a One-Day International for a venue in one province whose support he needed, or a plane ticket to Test for a president of another province – to ensure that he could get away with certain actions, beyond the view of the board, or in such a way that they would not question him.
Cricket South Africa’s current board of directors need to be wary that they are not allowing the current chief executive Thabang Moroe to go down the same path as Majola.
There were some worrying comments from Moroe on Tuesday during his extensive outlining of the new structure around the national team.
“Accountability was the key factor,” he said in explaining how there’s now going to be a director of cricket and a team director who would be answerable to him.
“Most of the responsibilities that used to lie with the board, those responsibilities will now be passed to me as CEO.”
The board still has oversight. But a lot of crucial decisions will now take place without their input.