Cricket bonus scandal ‘worse than Hansie’

2012-01-18 00:00

THE whole saga surrounding the financial affairs of Cricket South Africa (CSA) may have caused irreparable damage to cricket that “may even be worse than the Hansie [Cronjé] debacle”.

This was the opinion expressed by former CSA president advocate Norman Arendse SC before Judge Chris Nicholson, head of the commission of inquiry into the financial affairs of CSA. He said the Cronje affair had caused lingering mistrust in SA cricket for four years. He believed the financial dispute had already cost CSA between R10 million and R12 million and that those responsible should be made to pay.

Arendse said the commission is “the CSA’s own Truth and Reconciliation Commission in a way”, then added tongue-in-cheek, “except that Judge Nicholson will not look as good in Desmond Tutu’s robe”.

CSA CEO Gerald Majola admitted to the commission last year that he did not declare bonuses of R1,8 million which he received from the Indian Premier League (IPL) tournament and the Champions Trophy series in 2009, as required by the Companies Act.

Majola claims he did not understand the relevant legislation.

Arendse testified that during his presidency in 2007 and 2008 former CFO Don McIntosh handed documents to them before every CSA board meeting in which they had to declare their interests.

Arendse also referred to Diteko Modise, former United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) CFO, who was found guilty on nine charges of fraud, money laundering and theft in 2008 and is serving a prison sentence after having stolen a total of R7,4 million between 2002 and 2004.

Arendse testified that Majola was also investigated because of his involvement with Modise.

Majola was then brought before a disciplinary committee on a charge of “what he thought” was a conflict of interests because a company of which he was a director had done business with the UCBSA.

“He was just given a slap on the wrist,” Arendse said.

He believed CSA should have suspended Majola or placed him on special leave pending the report of the Nicholson Commission.

He described cricket in South Africa as a “googly or a doosra ball because there is much misleading in cricket”.

Arendse testified that during his presidency there was a “power play” going on and he did not know who to trust, because Majola told him how bad former CSA president Dr Mtutuzeli Nyoka was, having grown up with Nyoka. Nyoka, in turn, would besmirch Majola’s name when speaking to Arendse.

Arendse said he thinks government is not doing enough for sport in government schools and for sports development in the squatter camps.

“If you look at the numbers then cricket is receiving less and less from government.

“An objective fact is that all black players in the national team come from private or model C schools, except Vernon Philander, who comes from a government school,” Arendse said.

He also believes there has not been anywhere near enough transformation in cricket. Former CSA treasurer and remuneration committee member Professor Hentie van Wyk also testified yesterday that when he started with CSA in 2005 the finances were in a mess.

“They had R40 million in the bank, but an operating loss of R80 million,” he said.

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