There was no quarter given by Cricket South Africa interim board chairman Justice Zak Yacoob on Thursday as he tore into those he says have been “obstructing” the work of the board mandated by the sports minister and appointed by the Members Council to bring stability to the organisation.
Yacoob announced on Thursday in a teleconference attended by the directors of CSA, the Members Council and the Exco, that Omphile Ramela, until recently the president of the players’ association, and Xolani Vonya, the controversial former Easterns president and a major ally of suspended CSA Company Secretary Welsh Gwaza, will no longer serve on the interim board.
“We have brought proceedings for the removal of a director – Mr Ramela – in terms of the Companies Act because he has been generally obstructive in board matters and trying to defend the indefensible. He refuses to accept the majority decision if he does not feel it’s right and feels he needs to continue to fight. He does not have the discipline to accept a majority decision and is virtually impossible to deal with,” Yacoob said.
“We spent two hours with him discussing why he must accept majority rule but he said that when he is right he is right. Every word that comes out of his mouth is biblical truth and if anyone disagrees with him then they are met with considerable anger.
“We have also recused Mr Vonya from the board because very serious allegations of dishonesty have been made against him by Easterns, who claim they had everything ready for an enquiry against him on October 24, but instead of facing it, he resigned and then on October 25 he was nominated by the Members Council to this board. They knew, or ought to have known, he left Easterns under dire circumstances,” Yacoob said.
The former Constitutional Court judge said the mandate of the interim board was to restore CSA as a top-class sporting federation, but he said there were people actively working against this objective. He made a point of saying he did not share the optimism of Members Council head Rihan Richards that the interim board would be able to finish their work quickly now that a “clearly defined space” for them to operate has been found.
“I’m not sure at all that the solution discussed with the Members Council will be workable and I’m not sure this will all be over quickly.
“Let’s see how much obstruction there is but myself and the majority of the board do not share Mr Richards’ optimism. The Members Council has the power to take a resolution to throw us all out tomorrow, but some of them want the process to be completed, others want to stop them but fear the public exposure so they are caught between a rock and a hard place,” Yacoob said.
“It is a very toxic environment and we are aware that some of the Members Council have taken up the cudgels for Mr Gwaza.
“Anyone who is earning several millions per year is not going to go away quietly, they will fight any way they can. And other members of the organisation may have to be suspended because many aspects of the operations are not working. The object of the obstructionists is to make sure they are still there in three months time to fudge the issue. I suspect this is a specific design to hold up the board, to make sure we can do very little in the next three months.
“But we have to get rid of problem staff in the organisation and attend to fraud and corruption. Those people causing trouble must go. Our job is to run CSA properly, to bring a level of short-term stability, those who cause disruptions and problems for that have to go.”