CSA owe the game big time

2012-03-17 00:00

IF the Cricket South Africa board had a semblance of honour, the best thing they could do would be to resign en masse and leave the game to be run by those who have its best interests at heart.

If anything, Judge Chris Nicholson’s inquiry into the affairs of the body uncovered corruption, underhanded dealings and mistreatment of those who had decided to take on the establishment.

So A.K. Khan and John Blair decided to jump ship, leaving the embattled CEO, Gerald Majola, to man the sinking vessel CSA on his own.

The question now is why Majola is still fighting this battle. In historical terms, it could be likened to the Germans holding on in Stalingrad while the Red Army pincer was closing in on them during WW2. Majola’s direct refusal to acknowledge his wrongdoing and step down as chief executive amounts to dereliction of duty, which would have seen him court-martialled and sentenced to death in any army.

I do not subscribe to the notion of kicking a dog when it is down, but when you head what is a corrupt and morally bankrupt board, with little regard for corporate governance, and make sure that those who are seen to be doing the right thing are eliminated, you have to be done away with, period.

It seems that now the uniquely South African trend of silencing whistleblowers has seeped into cricket, dirtying the white-flannelled game. Cricket has endured a lot of pain in the last 12 years, from the Hansiegate match-fixing scandal, Diteko Modise pilfering cricket money in 2003 and now undisclosed bonuses. This points to only one thing: greed, greed and more greed. Majola just happened to be caught with his hands deep in the cookie jar and with crumbs all over his face.

South Africa is a proud cricketing nation with a history that matches that of England and Australia pound for pound and the sport does not deserve what it has gone through.

What hurts even more is that it was an African leader who was at the centre of this bonus storm.

Majola’s actions will cast a negative light on a black person’s ability to hold a high office. Leonard Chuene made Athletics South Africa his personal fiefdom where chaos and anarchy ruled and now you have Majola helping himself to funds that could have been put to better use.

The late Khaya Majola, who championed transformation and clean governance in the sport, must have been turning in his grave upon hearing about his younger brother’s fiduciary misdemeanours. Instead of championing transformation, pocket lining seems to be the order of the day. While Lonwabo Tsotsobe is heading the ODI bowling rankings and Pumelela Matshikwe and Ethy Mbhalati are turning in creditable performances for their franchises, there is not enough black talent coming through. Presiding over this lean period, Majola has to shoulder the blame.

It is not all doom and gloom, though. Dr Mtutuzeli Nyoka, the Northerns Cricket Union, the Gauteng Cricket Board “white mafia” and the rest of the crew that played a role in making sure the bonus trough was uncovered have shown that there are still people of integrity in the game and are willing to put their reputations on the line.

The old board may have loads of institutional and cricket knowledge, but unfortunately, they will have to take it with them.

CSA owe the game, its sponsors, development and the fans big time.

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula has challenged them to do the right thing and act in the best interests of the game.

Majola has been pinned into a corner and the beleaguered body can start afresh. Their board meeting due to take place today could make or break the board’s future.

We wait with bated breath.

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