Suspend Majola - Arendse

2012-01-17 16:45
Gerald Majola (File)
Pretoria - Cricket SA (CSA) CEO Gerald Majola should be placed on special leave or suspended, former CSA president Norman Arendse said on Tuesday.

Arendse said an acting CEO should subsequently be put in place pending the results of an independent disciplinary committee.

He said the current debacle surrounding CSA was indicative of what he had experienced during his time at the cricket body with Majola.

"All of us involved in cricket have created this environment; it is like the Frankenstein that is out of control," Arendse said.

"Because you allowed the CEO to get away with it."

Arendse was testifying in Pretoria before a ministerial committee of inquiry into the affairs of CSA.

The probe was prompted by questions over undeclared bonus payments Majola and others received from the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Arendse said the damage the bonus saga had done to the image of cricket in South Africa was greater than that when former Proteas skipper Hansie Cronje accepted bribes to influence the outcome of matches in the late 1990s.

Arendse said Majola protected the interests of sponsors and the national team because, "the performance of the national team, that is all that matters".

This was due to the national side being the main source of CSA's income, and prioritising their performance above the needs of grassroots cricket.

The manner in which the CSA board and Majola interacted with each other was a case of the tail wagging the dog.

Arendse cited two occasions where Majola overstepped his authority as president while still at the cricket body.

The first instance, Arendse said, was the dispute over the composition of the national side to face Bangladesh in 2008.

At the time, he queried the demographic composition of the team.

"Cricket SA has a selection policy which asks for targeted transformation in terms of the CSA policy; when we select 15 players to play overseas we must have a minimum of seven black players and that team had five," Arendse said.

He said he had to use his power of veto when the team was not selected according to CSA’s policy.

Majola, however, countermanded this and said in a news release that Arendse did not have the right to veto and reinstated the team initially selected.

Arendse said the second occasion related to a decision taken to remove the captain and coach from the selection committee shortly after the selection dispute.

Majola did not have the authority to make those decisions, prompting his resignation as CSA president in September 2008, Arendse said.

He said the financial cost of the bonus dispute was between R10 and R12 million.

Earlier, former CSA finance committee chairman Hentie van Wyk said the remuneration committee would not have approved millions of rands in bonus payments had it known that staff had already received money for the same work.

Van Wyk said Majola should have disclosed details of bonuses paid by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the IPL to either the CSA board or the remuneration committee.

"The biggest cloud around that [the IPL and ICC bonuses] was that it was not revealed," Van Wyk said.

"It was not disclosed anywhere, because when we decided on the bonuses we included the [organisational] performances of the IPL and ICC [tournaments]. We see it as a double payment.

"If we knew at that stage, when we had the remuneration committee [meeting], that they had already received these bonuses, we would not have given them eight times the monthly salary.

"That is how we viewed it. We also said that the money should be paid back to finalise the financial statements for that year."

The inquiry heard earlier that Majola was among 40 CSA staff members who received significant bonuses in May 2010, despite having been paid by the ICC and IPL for hosting cricket tournaments in 2009.

Van Wyk said the bonuses from the ICC and IPL were made known only two months later in July 2010 through an internal audit process conducted by the CSA audit committee.

Judge Chris Nicholson, who heads the inquiry, asked Van Wyk about a meeting held on July 10, 2009, when it was believed Majola verbally disclosed the bonuses.

Van Wyk said Majola was asked by a member at the conclusion of the meeting whether CSA staff had received bonuses.

According to Van Wyk, Majola said he had negotiated with the IPL for bonuses for his staff. However he felt a verbal submission was not appropriate.


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