Sun Dec 04 14:17:13 SAST 2016

Nicholson inquiry is SA cricket's last chance to save itself

The Editor, The Times Newspaper | 2011-11-24 23:55:45.0

The Times Editorial: Now that Judge Chris Nicholson has decided to open his cricket inquiry to the public perhaps we will see some of the game's dirty washing hung out to dry - and find the real scoundrels in the bonus scandal.

So far much of the dispute within the corridors of power at Cricket SA has been personal and petty: the sniping by former chairman Mtutuzeli Nyoka at the organisation's CEO, Gerald Majola, and the putsch by the provincial presidents - probably in cahoots with, or even at the instigation of, Majola - that plumbed new depths of squalor in our sport.

Nyoka is due to give evidence today whereas Majola is scheduled to appear only on December7. Judging by yesterday's evidence from businessman Paul Harris, Majola might have a lot of explaining to do.

Harris was on the board of Cricket SA when allegedly unauthorised payments were made to Majola and other members of staff, notably the then chief operating officer, Don McIntosh.

The main complaint, according to Harris in his evidence, was a lack of disclosure by the managers of cricket. He mentioned unaccounted for amounts of R1.7-million paid to Majola and R1.47-million to McIntosh. Much of his evidence was in the public domain. The real surprise from Harris, who was the original whistle-blower in the scandal, was that such secret payments might have gone back as far as 2007, when South Africa hosted the Twenty20 World Cup.

The mystery, as they say, deepens.

We hope that, by the time Judge Nicholson has completed his task, there will no longer be any mystery and the culprits, if there are indeed any, will be dealt with. This is vital because the game is being held back as sponsors, and possibly even supporters, shy away from a game shrouded in scandal.

And while the judge is about it, he might as well ask if there is a precedent for these secret bonuses, perhaps going further back than 2007.

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