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Mbalula on a sticky wicket in attempt to clean up cricket

The Editor, The Times Newspaper | 2011-12-07 00:03:58.0

The Times Editorial: When the Minister of Sport, Fikile Mbalula, set up the commission to investigate the financial affairs of South African cricket he urged Judge Chris Nicholson to report back before Christmas. The judge appears to be on course to meet that deadline.

Once the report is handed to the minister, the ball will be in Mbalula's court - and it might prove to be as difficult to play, to mix a sporting metaphor, as a bouncer from one of the Proteas' fast bowlers.

Judged on the evidence presented to the commission so far, the managers and board members of Cricket SA erred badly in redistributing the cash bonanza from the staging in South Africa of the Indian Premier League competition in 2009.

There has been little acceptance of responsibility by those in charge, and even less remorse.

Only yesterday the key figure in the bonus scandal, Cricket SA CEO Gerald Majola, was blaming everyone but himself.

Judge Nicholson will soon make sense of all the evidence presented and then it will be up to the minister to decide how to proceed in fixing a national sporting body that is very much broken.

Cricket SA, and its forerunner, the United Cricket Board, appear to have paid out bonuses recklessly. Even Majola's predecessor, Ali Bacher, has been drawn into the scandal.

Majola revealed yesterday that Bacher had received a R5-million bonus in 2003 that might have led subsequent administrations to believe that bonuses were normal and that everyone was entitled to them.

It is a disturbing trend for an organisation that is meant to plough profits back into the development of the game.

Mbabula has a massive job on his hands: to find people not tainted by the scandal to rebuild Cricket SA and develop a new culture - one of responsibility towards the game, not self-enrichment.

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