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Clearing the bonus debacle will restore Cricket SA's image

The Editor, The Times Newspaper | 2012-01-17 00:02:45.0

The Times Editorial: Cricket SA, with an annual budget of just over R700-million, is the richest sports body in the country. Even so, it can't afford to haemorrhage money the way it's been doing over the past few months.

That was what Western Province cricket boss Beresford Williams seemed to suggest when he appeared before the Nicholson inquiry into the Cricket SA bonus scandal yesterday.

"This debacle is costing a lot of money . money that could have gone to development," Williams told the inquiry.

The "debacle" Williams was referring to is the bonus scandal that has driven away sponsors and turned Cricket SA into something close to a pariah with corporate South Africa.

The "debacle" is also the reason Judge Nicholson reconvened his commission yesterday in the hope of wrapping-up the oral evidence before the end of the week.

The matter has become urgent for cricket and for the country.

Though spectators have turned up in droves to watch the Proteas play the Sri Lankans this summer, there is a public cynicism about Cricket SA that will not go away until the bonus scandal is resolved.

And yesterday it again became clear that it cannot be resolved without Gerald Majola either quitting his job as chief executive of Cricket SA, or being forced out by government and public pressure.

Only one of the people giving evidence yesterday seemed to believe that the status quo could be maintained. John Bester, chairman of Cricket SA's finance committee, said he thought there was not much wrong.

"I believe cricket administration is all in a very good space," Bester told the inquiry.

The statement will leave many aghast.

Just what the judge and his fellow commissioners will make of it we will know only when their report is released by the minister of sport.

Until then, Cricket SA's name will remain in the mud while South Africa's cricketers strive valiantly to put up a brave front.

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