18 Aug

Chris Nenzani stepped down as the Cricket South Africa (CSA) president on Saturday (15 August), three weeks before his term was due to end. Nenzani has been under increasing pressure in the face of administrative upheaval and left his post within hours of the organisation sacking its chief operating officer Naasei Appiah, and a day before the men's national squad begins a culture camp. The post will remain vacant until CSA's annual general meeting on September 5. A further resignation followed when Jacques Faul the acting CEO stepped down on Monday (17 August).

Appiah was found guilty of "transgressions of a serious nature". Meanwhile, the suspended CEO Thabang Moroe is likely to be dismissed as well, ESPNcricinfo believes, on the evidence of a forensic audit, which CSA commissioned when Moroe was suspended last December.

A CSA statement, issued on Monday morning, gave no reason for Nenzani's exit, and thanked him for his time in office. Not everyone feels that's enough, though. "Given what has happened over the last nine months, the president owes stakeholders an explanation for why he is stepping down now," Andrew Breetzke, SACA CEO, told ESPNcricnfo.

Serving two terms since 2013, Nenzani has come under the heavy criticism following  CSA's disputes with the South African Cricketers' Association (SACA), and a major sponsor - Standard Bank – who opted not to renew their deal. Seven CSA staff members, including CEO Moroe, were suspended.

Under Moroe, CSA launched the Mzansi Super League but were unable to sell television rights for the two editions played to date, costing them in access of Rand 200 million ($11.49 million). Additionally, CSA is forecasting losses of Rand 654 million ($37.58 million) over the four-year cycle ending in April 2022. In an attempt to mitigate against the losses, CSA proposed a new domestic structure, which would eliminate the franchise tier of the current system. SACA argued that up to 70 cricketers could lose their jobs if that happened, and took CSA to court to prevent the changes and rescinded when CSA U-turned on the restructure.

In recent weeks, former players and current coaches of colour have flooded the media with stories of exclusion and blamed the administration for not doing enough to create an environment that was comfortable for everyone.

Nenzani has undertaken to address the media at the conclusion of next month's AGM where a new president is expected to be named. Vice-president Beresford Williams has been identified as a possible successor.

While acting CEO Dr Jacques Faul was not available for comment on Monday evening, ESPNcricinfo understands that he chose to leave his post following a heated board meeting in which his position became untenable. An acting CEO is expected to be named imminently

In the meantime, CSA will elect a new president on September 15 with the board under increasing pressure to step down. There are now worries that Director of Cricket Graeme Smith may walk away as well, with infighting at board level increasing.

John Stephenson


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