South Africa | Cricket SA welcomes new dawn, ex-president Norman Arendse controversially rejected

Cricket South Africa (CSA) christened its new constitution at the long-awaited annual general meeting on Saturday that didn't go without typical administration controversy.

CSA adopting an amended memorandum of incorporation, thereby swearing in an independent majority board, marked what outgoing interim board chair Dr Stavros Nicolaou termed a "JSE-styled" company governance foundation.

It means, as of Sunday, when the new CSA board assumes control, cricket's highest amateur decision-making body, the members' council, will act as a shareholder in the company that runs the professional arm.

There will no longer be two power centres, it was hoped.

READ | Rihan Richards elected unopposed as CSA president

"What we sought to achieve with this amended MOI was to restyle it towards modern-day governance requirements," said Nicolaou at the closing press conference.

"The role clarity that has been achieved is akin to what modern-day governance, King's III and IX, have as requirements.

"The strategic setting, the company vision is the purview (scope) of the board. The members' council will play the role a shareholder would in a company.

"We have tried to style this with what listed companies on the JSE's [board] requirements are and how they operate.

"There are clear roles and no more confusion around two centres of power."

READ | Ex-Proteas, chief selector Andrew Hudson headlines independent CSA directors 

In a surprising move, the members' council opted against having its president (Rihan Richards) and vice-president (Donovan May) become non-independent directors on the new CSA board.

Instead, they voted for Daniel Govender (KwaZulu-Natal), Craig Nel (Mpumalanga), John Mogodi (Limpopo), Tebogo Siko (Northerns) and Simphiwe Ndzundzu (Border) to represent provincial unions on the board.

"The members' council opted not to include both the president and the vice-president in the election, to ensure there's clear separation and distinction between the members' council and the board," Richards explained.

However, the historic moment wasn't without the quotidian dose of controversy.

CSA's members' council objected to having former CSA president Advocate Norman Arendse added as an independent board representative, citing possible conflicts of interests from prior board involvement.

Arendse, who has had various stints on CSA's board, but has served his mandatory two-year cooling period, was the lead independent director during the period of former CEO Thabang Moroe's appointment and the failed Global League T20 (GLT20) competition in 2017.

The members' council objected to having Arendse as the eighth independent director as a result.

"We have raised several issues, not specifically only to Advocate Arendse," Richards said.

"We've raised concerns regarding EPG (Eminent Persons Group, transformation) requirements, the qualification criteria and the mixture of the board.

"The members' council raised areas of concern in connection with Arendse.

"Firstly, we wanted an understanding from the panel if consideration was given to the fact that Arendse was the lead independent director during the period of Thabang Moroe's appointment as well as the GLT20 and a number of other issues.

"Then, there were also Arendse's utterances with regards to CSA during the period he's been off the board."

The independent panel, led by Muhammad Seedat, appointed seven independent directors, with an eighth set to be named at Wednesday's AGM continuation.

Of the seven - Steven Budlender, Hudson, Muditambi "Ntambi" Ravele, Dr Simosezwe Dugmore Lushaba, Mark Shepstone Rayner, Lawson Naidoo and Andisa Ntsubane - Ravele was the only woman elected.

The members' council elected five men for their slots, opting against having Central Gauteng Lions president Anne Vilas in their final voting round.

It was another major bone of contention, of which the public will be highly critical.

The two remaining board positions in the 13-member, soon-to-be 15-member board will comprise CSA executives, the CEO and CFO, both currently held by acting CEO Pholetsi Moseki.

"It's definitely unacceptable to only have one woman in the current 13," said Richards.

"We are in the phase where we need to bring women into the administration portion of the game. It's unfortunate that we are losing women administrators instead of gaining.

"We have now widened the definition in this MOI ... and it's more compulsory on members to start looking at how to best facilitate the inclusion of women in becoming directors and administrators."

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