Cricket South Africa's acting CEO Kugandrie Govender has been suspended on full pay. She will face a hearing next month, with Pholetsi Moseki, CSA's chief financial officer, taking over as acting CEO in her absence - the third person to fill the role in 2020.
Govender is the second senior member of staff to be served notice of disciplinary proceedings by CSA's interim board, which was appointed last month. The other is company secretary Welsh Gwaza, whose hearing took place on Monday.
Govender has been charged with misconduct relating to the role she played in revoking the accreditation of journalists in December 2019, for breaches of the Companies' Act, and her part in the dismissal of former head of sales and sponsorships Clive Eksteen, whose sacking has since been ruled unfair.
Eksteen took CSA to the Council for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) after he was dismissed for a delay in payments to the South African Cricketers Association (SACA) for image rights in the first Mzansi Super League and selling a sponsorship deal for a lower amount than had been approved. Eksteen claimed the final responsibility did not lie with him and CCMA ruled in his favour. Govender was Eksteen's direct supervisor at the time that he was at CSA, which has since acknowledged its error.
Govender began work at CSA in April 2019 as Chief Commercial Officer, under former CEO Thabang Moroe, who was suspended last December and fired in August this year. Jacques Faul, current CEO of Titans Cricket, was appointed acting CEO when Moroe was suspended and was due to remain in the role until September (or when a new CEO had been appointed) but stood down in August over differences with the now-resigned board. Govender was then appointed as the first female CEO of CSA, albeit in acting capacity.
During her time at the helm, CSA's board came under intense scrutiny and eventually fell apart. Initially, the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) asked for the executive and board to step aside while it looked into CSA's affairs. When CSA refused, the country's sports minister threatened to intervene in the organisation and could have stripped them of recognition, before it eventually agreed to an interim board whose remit was to look into every aspect of the administrative crisis that has stalked the organisation for the better part of the last two years.
The interim board's primary task has been to study the forensic report that was used to fire Moroe and take any further action based on it, resulting in the subsequent suspensions Govender and Gwaza.
"What we've been charged to do is not only try to stabilise the organisation but also to deal with the dysfunction and the toxicity of culture within the organisation," Judith February, the interim board spokesperson, told ESPNcricinfo. "In addition, the interim board was charged with following up on allegations within the Fundudzi [forensic] report. The nature of this task is not a pleasant one but it is necessary for us to discharge our fiduciary duties with care, in the best interest of cricket and the South African public. That has unfortunately meant certain individuals have had to be suspended pending fair hearings and affording the individuals their constitutional rights to be heard."
That still leaves CSA in a precarious position, without a permanent CEO or board. The interim board has made arrangements for an outside auditor to join the executive to assist in the running of CSA while Govender is suspended. The board is not expected to make any more appointments but remains committed to laying the foundations for a more successful CSA.
"We are here for a period of three months and what we want to do is hand over the organisation in a healthier position than what we found it in and also to put in place the building blocks for future transparency and accountability within CSA," she said.
"There is a lot to be done and in a short period, we can only do so much. What we have done so far is to hopefully create a culture of accountability as regards conduct within CSA. We take seriously the job of cleaning up cricket administration. It's a tricky task and definitely one for the long haul. It's very hard to completely turn organisations around in three months. What you can do is put in place the building blocks for the future."
The interim board is expected to provide a framework for a permanent board to be appointed and it will be left to that board to recruit the new CEO.