Majola: We have to take blame
Pretoria - Cricket SA (CSA) could have handled the so-called bonus scandal better, CEO Gerald Majola said on Tuesday.
"We could have dealt with the matter totally differently, more quickly and better," he told reporters after appearing in Pretoria before the Nicholson Inquiry into the matter.
"Whatever has happened was undesirable. It was totally uncalled for and, as cricket administrators, we all have to take the blame for what has happened."
He was questioned at length about the fact that he and Don McIntosh, the Indian Premier League tournament director and former CSA chief operations officer, received more than two-thirds of a pool of money meant for bonuses after the tournament.
"Fairness is relative. Fairness is if I am happy to pay you for the job you have done," Majola said.
"In my view, if the people who authorised these payments thought the people who got this money deserved it, then it was fair."
Majola earlier denied not disclosing his contentious bonus after the IPL series in 2009.
"I was totally convinced at the time, as it was common practice to do it this way, that I had disclosed properly when I did," he said.
Majola told reporters the CSA board had taken a decision to move forward and to rectify the errors it had made.
"Good governance is key and we will make sure the governance of cricket is clean."
He broke down while talking about the strain he and his family had been under since the allegations were first made about his "secret commissions".
"There have been a lot of misconceptions and unfounded allegations and today I had the chance to put my side of the story in front of the judge and in front of the public of South Africa," he said.
"At least I’m happy now that people will know what the truth is."
At the end of his oral submission, the inquiry's chairman Judge Chris Nicholson asked Majola if he would have done things differently had he been fully informed of the correct process.
"I would have done so and if the new process says I have to disclose to Remco, I will do so," he said.
"I want to say in front this committee that I commit to clean governance and I commit to excellence. For as long as I am here, meaningful transformation and development structures will be in place."
Majola said one of his main aspirations was to ensure the Proteas returned with the World Cup trophy - silverware that has so far eluded them.
"I think we have started by employing a World Cup winning coach and hopefully we will find a remedy after the last World Cup," he said.
"I want to say from the outset that I personally know I am not indispensable, but I want to leave cricket with solid reserves. I want to leave cricket with advanced development programmes and I would love to leave cricket as a strong organisation."
Majola told the inquiry he had disclosed the bonuses to a members' forum meeting and had told the CSA board.
"I have already informed the board of receiving the bonuses and it has been disclosed in our documents for anybody who wants to see the documents," he said.
"So, I had disclosed that I was going to receive a bonus at two meetings, the members meeting with the shareholders, and the second one which is the board."
Majola said the bonus he received was determined by McIntosh.
"Mr McIntosh [determined my bonus], and his own bonus as well," he said.
"Mr McIntosh did a full schedule, including his [bonus] which I accepted as well. I never discussed mine as it's very difficult to discuss your own bonus."
Majola took the stand for the first time on Tuesday in the inquiry into bonuses paid to staff after the CSA hosted the Indian Premier League.
He said the contract signed for the event was exactly the same as the one used for hosting other ICC events.
McIntosh was also tournament director for the 2007 Twenty20 World Cup held in South Africa and, given the short notice for the IPL, he and Majola had agreed to apply the same terms and conditions.
Majola said they used the same principle for determining bonuses as the one applied in previous tournaments.
"The tournament director is more senior when it comes to that [bonuses] and depending on work done he uses a 'multiples' guide," said Majola.
"He got more than me on other tournaments, but on this one [IPL] I did more work than him."
Judge Nicholson pushed Majola on why he had written a letter to McIntosh on July 16 2009 telling him, "we have managed to negotiate with the IPL to pay you a special discretionary bonus for your contribution" to the IPL.
Majola said he had no recollection of the letter, but that each member of staff would have received the same letter if they had received a bonus.