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AN INSIDER’S ACCOUNT OF CRICKET SOUTH AFRICA AND THE IPL BONUS SAGA
ISBN 9 781770 104297
Haven’t we all been told at some point in our lives that money is the root of all evil, at least the love for it?
Having done virtually everything together as they grew up in Port Elizabeth, these two childhood buddies must have come across this age-old phrase too. One was the son of the local medico, the other the scion of a sporting family with outstanding honours in cricket. The two friends played cricket together and, in later life, rose to be administrators of the game at national level, one the President and other the Chief Executive.
Had it ended here, it would have gone down as a great story of achieving against odds; a tale to behold and bequeath to posterity.
But alas, the lure of money and the attendant power would worm itself into the equation and the trust built over many years would dissipate and ruin relationships, brother turning against brother.
Money is at the root of the fallout between the two, Dr Mtutuzeli Nyoka, former President of Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the CEO Gerald Majola, who grew up virtually in each other’s beds in the same neighbourhood.
Commentators would make reference to the ‘clash of the snakes’ as both their family names bear affinity to the slithering reptile of one kind or another.
But the love for money is not an obsession they shared in equal measure, according to the book and the newspaper headlines that preceded it. In the words of the author, their values were irreconcilable.
The Chief Executive – who owed his position to his childhood pal for overlooking his shortcomings at the job interview, organises a very successful cricket tournament in the country, the Indian Premier League (IPL).
It is a breathtaking feat for which the President motivates that the CEO be rewarded with a bonus equaling eight months of his salary.
Had it ended here, the courts would later point rule, it could have been a further feather in the cap of Majola who argues his was a mere ‘service to the game’ ostensibly with no personal benefits.
But it would turn out that he’d already been paid a hefty bonus by the Indian authorities who bankrolled the famed IPL games. It is a bonus Majola would not declare, as he was procedurally bound by CSA rules to do.
He’d advance among the most ridiculous reasons why he did not declare his bonus, citing Graeme Smith – the Proteas captain at the time, as an example.
If Smith didn’t declare his bonus, why should he, the CEO argued?
Attempts to point out the difference between the employment contracts of the captain and the chief executive and the fiduciary duty of the latter fell on deaf ears – Majola was erroneously convinced of the merit of his argument.
This would not be his only Achilles heel.
But when he woke up to the error of his ways, Majola would use his ill-gotten gains to buy the silence and support of those on the cricket board willing to sell their souls to the highest bidder.
This book is about Dr Nyoka’s lonely crusade to expose the corruption at the highest echelons of cricket administration in the country and how his one-time friend dispensed patronage with the money he stole from the game they both loved.
It is a damning account of how money can turn otherwise good men into lackeys ready to ditch principles and distort the truth.
It is a story of one man whose conscience would not countenance the rampant looting of CSA resources.
It is one with a happy ending as justice prevails and cricket principally takes leave of Majola. His cohorts duly fall on their swords.
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