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Update CSA suspend acting CEO on allegations of misconduct

CSA announced its third acting chief executive in just more than a year on Monday (December 14) when Pholetsi Moseki was installed following the suspension of Kugandrie Govender on allegations of misconduct. Govender's disciplinary hearing has been set for January 28.

She is the second major CSA figure, after company secretary Welsh Gwaza, to be removed by an interim board, which was appointed on November 17 following intervention from government in reaction to more than three years of maladministration in the game.

The board recused two of its own members on Thursday, leaving little doubt that it is taking seriously its mandate to root out the rot that has brought cricket in South Africa to its knees financially and in governance terms. But the board will have to keep in mind its responsibility to maintain stability at CSA, which has suffered umpteen blows to its credibility since Thabang Moroe was appointed acting chief executive in September 2017.

Govender joined CSA as chief commercial officer in April 2019 and became its first female acting chief executive on August 19 this year after Jacques Faul relinquished the position. Faul came on board in the wake of Moroe's suspension as the appointed chief executive in December.

A release from the interim board summarised the charges against Govender as "the role she played in the revocation of media accreditation of certain journalists in December 2019", various breaches of the provisions of the Companies Act as a prescribed officer of CSA", and "the role which she played in the dismissal of Mr Clive Eksteen, which CSA has now acknowledged (in terms of a settlement agreement with Mr Eksteen) was an unfair dismissal".

Govender's Linkedin entry says that, as chief commercial officer, she was "responsible for all commercial matters; oversight of all CSA communications and media, sponsor services, digital media and marketing". So the buck for five cricket journalists having their accreditation revoked without explanation could be said to stop with her. The decision to act against the journalists was part of the justification used to fire Moroe in August.

In October, Govender told a meeting that involved South Africa's players that she thought the flood of negative reporting on CSA was related to the organisation having lessened the freebies it gives journalists, and that reporters may be bitter about not securing jobs at CSA.

Govender came to CSA after a career of more than 21 years as a sales and marketing executive, largely in the media industry. Asked if she would contest the charges at her hearing, she did not respond.

Eksteen was suspended as CSA's sponsorship and sales head in October last year over allegations that he was partly responsible for a delayed payment to the players, via the South African Cricketers' Association (SACA) for the use of their image rights to promote the Mzansi Super League. An investigation found Moroe and Naasei Appiah, who was fired as chief operating officer on August 16, were to blame and that Eksteen was, in fact, trying to resolve the situation. SACA concurred. CSA also accused Eksteen of selling a sponsorship for less than its executive had approved. He countered that he had informed his superior, Govender, of the offer before it had been accepted. On June 14 Eksteen was found guilty of "transgressions of a serious nature" and fired. He sued for unfair dismissal, and won his case on December 4.

Moseki, an accountant who has worked in the banking, weapons and private equity industries, has been CSA's chief commercial officer since July 2019. He will not be expected to shoulder his new responsibilities without help. "In ensuring that CSA remains fully functional during this time, the interim board has arranged for the appointment of a capable person from an auditing firm to stand in the breach until early January 2021," Monday's release said.

While that will reassure cricket-minded South Africans that at least one sensible pair of ears and eyes will be among the more expensive suits at CSA, it also means the board thinks cricket administration in South Africa has run out of that vital quality.


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