Sports minister Fikile Mbalula on Friday called on Cricket South Africa’s leadership to step down following the findings of a commission of inquiry, that he appointed, that they did not take appropriate action against chief executive Gerald Majola for his alleged contraventions of the Companies Act in respect of IPL bonuses.
Majola has been implicated in the scandal after R4.7 million in unauthorised bonuses were paid to CSA staff after the hosting of the 2009 Indian Premier League (IPL) and ICC Champions Trophy.
Majola received R1.8 million of the money, but was originally cleared of any wrongdoing by an internal CSA inquiry headed by AK Khan, who this week resigned as the acting president.
The commission of inquiry, chaired by Judge Chris Nicholson, found that Majola had “surreptitiously” received bonus payments from the IPL and that there was a prima facie case that he had breached the Companies Act. Nicholson recommended that Majola be suspended and face a disciplinary inquiry and possible criminal charges.
“The board of Cricket South Africa, if it has any moral compass and understands its fiduciary duties, must do the right thing as Judge Nicholson has advised. The board must conduct an open and brutally frank introspection about its role in the deepening crisis within cricket and ask themselves the question whether, after so many blunders, would they be able to command the respect of all South Africans? Is it not time for the board to make way for a new leadership that will take Cricket South Africa to a new era of hope and clean governance? No more time for cover-ups!” Mbalula told a news conference in Johannesburg on Friday.
Mbalula said that if CSA did not take the recommended action, then he would personally lead the way in forcing them to do so, pouring scorn on Majola’s suggestion, in a statement released on Wednesday, that Nicholson was an impartial judge.
“This is not an idle threat, if the board fails to implement the recommendations, the government and the people of South Africa will show them how it should be done in the interest of cricket in our country.
“There is no suggestion yet that CSA will not comply, therefore it would be premature for me to respond to insurrectionary phrasemongery. I’m not going to respond to feelings, whether people hate or love the judge. But it was an independent inquiry, every individual who had a problem appeared. I didn’t even consult or interact with the judge. The attack on the judge is unfortunate, it’s an attack on a process we all agreed on,” Mbalula said.
Majola said in his statement that he would be applying for a leave of absence from CSA in order to fight Nicholson’s findings.
The CSA board will hold a meeting on Saturday to elect a new acting president and discuss the Nicholson report.