New CSA chief eyes restoration of board's reputation

Embattled chief executive Gerald Majola was suspended after an unanimous decision by the CSA board Getty Images

Johannesburg: Mar 19, 2012

The newly appointed president of Cricket South Africa (CSA), Willie Basson wants to restore the reputation of the beleaguered board by once again involving the corporate world of the country in the sport.

“Cricket used to have the reputation as the best-run sport in the country because business people were involved. It was a very disciplined system,” Basson said.

Basson’s views come two days after being appointed to the position following the resignation of acting president A K Khan last Wednesday and a unanimous CSA board decision to suspend embattled chief executive Gerald Majola, pending a disciplinary hearing.

The suspension, disciplinary hearing and possible criminal charges to be investigated by the National Prosecuting Authority were recommended by the Nicholson inquiry established by Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula following almost two years of wrangling at CSA over huge IPL 2 bonuses, which Majola paid to himself and other senior CSA staff without informing the board.

The IPL 2 was played in South Africa due to security concerns around elections at that time in India.

An independent report by auditors KPMG and the Nicholson inquiry both found Majola to have breached his fiduciary duties in terms of the Companies Act, although he has continued to proclaim his innocence, citing naivete about his fiduciary obligations.

Basson was confident that he could repair the damage at CSA with the assistance of business figures, who have almost completely shunned CSA as the debacle continued.

Sponsors have also shied away as existing contracts ended.

“I’ve got a lot of experience in sports administration and I see this as not a big problem,” Basson told the daily.

Basson replaced acting president A K Khan, who resigned last Wednesday with an apology to the public for the chaotic state of South Africa cricket.

Khan was also implicated by Nicholson to the extent that he chaired an internal CSA inquiry, which largely cleared Majola of any wrongdoing.

Nicholson found this inquiry to have been an attempt to cover up Majola’s wrongdoings.

Basson said that the board would probably not be putting too much effort into trying to get back the R4.7 million in undeclared bonuses paid to current and former CSA staff.

Meanwhile it also emerged that new acting chief executive, Jacques Faul had to be persuaded to take the job until elections in September because he considered it to be a “minefield”.

Faul, who has been seconded from his position as chief executive of provincial franchise North West, said he did not want to accept the position but the president of his franchise, Archie Pretorius, convinced him that he could play a role in helping cricket in the country progress if he did.

CSA acted swiftly in making the two appointments on Saturday after a warning from the minister on Friday that if they did not act decisively, the government would show them how to do it.(PTI)