Sports ministry punts urgency on CSA inquiry

An inquiry into the financial affairs of Cricket South Africa (CSA) should get underway as soon as Saturday, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said.

The process should be completed “as quickly as possible”, he told reporters in Johannesburg on Friday.

“The committee will meet every day for the next month. They will work day and night to conclude this particular matter. As I said before, I want this done by Christmas.”

Mbalula was speaking after announcing that KwaZulu-Natal High Court Judge Chris Nicholson would chair an inquiry.

The other two members are senior government officials from the treasury—accountant general Freeman Nomvalo and chief director Zoliswa Zwakala.

Mbalula was flanked by Deputy Sport Minister Gert Oosthuizen and Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) acting director general Alec Moemi as he made the announcement.

Included in the terms of reference, announced by Moemi, the committee was to investigate and report on the reasons for the failure of CSA to adhere to recommendations made by KPMG and advocate Azhar Bham.

The committee would also report on possible maladministration in CSA, as well as any irregularities discovered during the KPMG investigation, and assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the current administration of CSA.

‘Open matter’
Mbalula said they were “not interfering with anybody’s business and ...
not disbanding anyone”.

“We need to get to the bottom of this matter and if there are internal politics they must tell us,” he said.

“This is an open matter. We can’t leave this matter unattended to when so many people love cricket.”

Nicholson is the judge who dismissed corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma in the Pietermaritzburg High Court in 2008.

Last month, Mbalula said he would appoint a committee to investigate a report submitted by auditing firm KPMG on the financial affairs of CSA.

Asked if the full KPMG report would be released to the public, Mbalula replied, “It is freely available. If you want it, you can get it.”

He was also asked to comment on rumours that CSA chief executive Gerald Majola tried to make a deal with the sports ministry by resigning.

“There is no deal,” said Mbalula.

“The fact is that we met with Gerald, like we would meet with anyone, like we met with [former CSA president Mtutuzeli] Nyoka, so he could explain his side of the story and so we could explain to him how we got to this point.

“As for a deal—there was no deal.”

Put corruption in its place
The audit recommended that CSA’s remuneration and travel allowance policy be reviewed after it found a reported non-disclosure of bonus payments to CSA employees.

This was contrary to the requirements of the Companies Act.

The minister said if the process cleared the names of CSA staff said to be involved “then we must all accept this”.

“If there is corruption, let’s deal with it and put it in its place.”

Last month, CSA’s board axed Nyoka, who had led a long battle to get to the bottom of what he termed “disturbing signs of corruption” in the organisation.

According to the KPMG report, Majola paid himself R1.8-million from a bonuses package totalling R4.7-million.

The bonuses were paid from money CSA received for successfully hosting the Indian Premier League and the ICC Champions Trophy in 2009.

KMPG found the R4.7-million was kept secret from the CSA’s remuneration committee.—Sapa

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