Startling revelations at cricket enquiry

2011-11-24 14:41

Former Cricket South Africa (CSA) remunerations committee chairperson Paul Harris was the first to make an oral submission on the second day of the Ministerial Committee sitting at the Department of Sport and Recreation building in Tshwane today.

Appearing before the chairperson, retired Justice Chris Nicholson, and committee members Freeman Nomvalo, the accountant-general, and Zolisa Zwakala, the chief director for internal audits – both from the National Treasury – Harris made some startling revelations.

Among other things, he said changes to the articles of association, which are the basic tenets of the running of any organisation, were changed without any communication or paper trail to the Legal Compliance Committee.

He added that the Indian Premier League, which was hosted by South Africa in 2009, undermined cricket governance.

Unlike yesterday, when Nicholson chased out journalists, today’s seating was open to the media.

The hearings will continue until December 9.

“The IPL undermined cricket governance. It brought about changes to governance without any paper trail to the relevant authorities. Changes to articles are akin to changing the constitution of the country,” he said.

Harris said changes to the articles of association included the removal of the South Africa Cricket Association representative, which was pushed through without the proper ratification by the Legal and Compliance committee.

He said other changes included the attempt to convince the remunerations committee to increase bonuses from three times monthly to 36-times monthly, undermining its own governance committees, resisting external scrutiny, and conducting an internal review when the outcome was already determined.

“The Players Association has a right to nominate their board representative, but they no longer had that right,” he added.

Harris said in his testimony that people who had proper governance capability were either “worked out” or removed.

Those included himself, Judge Mervyn King, whom he said was not given even a thank-you letter after 20 years of service, former chairperson of the Risk and Audit committee Collin Beggs and Thandeka Mgoduso.

Beggs was replaced by John Blair, who was a Majola nominee, while Mgoduso resigned citing lack of proper governance.

Harris said a once-stable organisation was polarised by a power struggle between chief executive Gerald Majola and then president Dr Mthuthuzeli Nyoka.

Harris emphasised that he had no vendetta against Majola.

“No one who is prepared to stand up against the governance breaches has a future in cricket.

“Management is thereby disempowered, fearful, sending an appalling message into the system and making it impossible to impose discipline.”

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