Bonus controversy worse than Hansie Cronje scandal: Norman Arendse

Johannesburg: The current controversy related to the payment of IPL bonuses to chief executive officer Gerald Majola and other Cricket South Africa staff is worse than the match-fixing scandal, involving the then skipper Hansie Cronje, feels former CSA chief Norman Arendse.

Arendse was testifying at the Nicholson inquiry into the financial affairs of CSA, instituted by sports minister Fikile Mbalula after almost two years of bitter wrangling over the bonuses form the IPL II, which was played in South Africa due to security concerns around elections in India at that time.

Arendse said the current controversy, which has led to sponsors shying away from CSA, may have have cost the cricket authority as much as 12 million Rands.

"The bonus saga has caused a lot of damage. It has cost CSA a lot of money, maybe between R10 and R12 million," Arendse said as he called for those responsible to be held accountable.

"What was the best-run sporting code in (South Africa) has now been run down to this," he said.

Arendse called for Majola to be suspended pending a full disciplinary process.

Majola admitted late last year during his testimony at the inquiry that he had not understood his fiduciary duties, which an independent inquiry by auditors KPMG had found him to have breached.

The former president said that a number of former CSA sponsors that he had spoken to had told him that they were waiting to see what would happen before they returned.

Earlier former CSA treasurer Hentie van Wyk told the inquiry that when he started working at CSA in 2005, its financial affairs were in a mess.

"They had R40 million in the bank, but suffered an operating loss of R80 million," Van Wyk said.

Arendse gave some damming evidence about Majola, who he said was incompetent and often absent from work without a reason.

"I would phone (Majola`s) office and he would be on leave. The organisation was run by his secretary," Arendse said.

Arendse resigned in 2008 after a bitter public spat with Majola, who he said wanted the president`s role to be merely a ceremonial one.

On at least two occasions, Majola had overridden decisions made by him as president, Arendse added.

These were when Arendse insisted on the inclusion of more black players in the national squad to play against Bangladesh and an agreement Majola signed to involve CSA in the ICC Champions League.

The inquiry has been adjourned until next week and is expected to finalise its report by the end of February.