Majola on a sticky wicket

2011-11-26 21:05

Damning evidence led this week showing how Cricket South Africa (CSA) CEO Gerald Majola flouted the Companies Act and misled then president Dr Mtutuzeli Nyoka could spell the end of the road for the besieged administrator.

Nyoka said he initially defended Majola, who had led him to believe that there was a “white mafia” that wanted him (Majola) out of cricket.

As a friend and close confidant, having grown up together, Nyoka felt obliged to “protect” Majola but was “devastated” when shown evidence that his friend had “lied” to him.

Documents showed that Majola had not disclosed bonuses amounting to R4.5 million, R1.75 million of which he allocated to himself, with R1.47 million going to former chief operations officer Don McIntosh.

“They got the lion’s share while other payments went to staff members such as Kass Naidoo and his (Majola’s) PA,” an emotional Nyoka told the ministerial committee of enquiry being chaired by retired KZN Judge Chris Nicholson.

In total, Majola received R4.15 million in bonuses between May 2009 and May 2010.

Nyoka said he felt betrayed when he discovered that the documents Majola had made him sign under the pretext that they were a salary adjustment had actually been a R1 million travel allowance that allowed him carte blanche for a spree with his family, which included overseas trips with his children and a visit to Sun City.

Nyoka also revealed that Majola was the only one of the 19 board members who objected to KPMG being appointed to conduct a forensic audit into CSA’s finances, without giving any valid reason for his view.

Nyoka said he was shattered when he initially confronted Majola with the evidence and was told: “I never declared any bonuses to the previous presidents, the late Percy Sonn and Ray Mali, and will not do so to you.”

“I felt so betrayed and devastated that I parked my car on the side of the road as I couldn’t concentrate,” Nyoka told Nicholson and other members of the committee, Freeman Nomvalo and Zolisa Zwakala.

He said he called former national director of prosecutions Vusi Pikoli for advice.

“His advice was that I should choose whether I wanted to act as Majola’s friend or as CSA president. If I chose to be Majola’s friend, I should resign as president or if I wanted to be president, I should do what was right for cricket,” he said.

He chose the latter and decided to tell the board members what had happened.

The CSA bonus scandal came down to the evidence of two former chairs of the remunerations committee, Paul Harris and Thandeka Mgoduso, this week, and if it is anything to go by, Majola will find himself on a sticky wicket.

Majola, CEO since 2001, will have to negotiate a minefield when he appears on December 7.

On Thursday, Harris said he had enjoyed an excellent relationship with Majola up until the 2009 Indian Premier League, which was hosted by South Africa, where he got the impression that matters were discussed between parties outside the board.

Mgoduso gave evidence on why she felt obliged to resign after realising that things were being done behind her back.

Nyoka said there were also bonuses this year, although they were not paid out by Remco but were undeclared bonuses which individuals in the office paid themselves.

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