Cricket 17.7.2017 11:36 am

#GuptaLeaks: Even SA cricket couldn’t escape the Guptas

Former CSA CEO Gerald Majola was eventually fired in 2012.
Photo: Dominic Barnardt/Gallo Images.

Former CSA CEO Gerald Majola was eventually fired in 2012. Photo: Dominic Barnardt/Gallo Images.

Leaked e-mails detail how former Cricket South Africa CEO Gerald Majola had a particularly cozy relationship with the controversial family.

Not even South African cricket escaped the clutches of the Guptas.

According to the latest collaborative #GuptaLeaks efforts of amaBhungane and Scorpio, disgraced former Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive Gerald Majola had a particularly cozy relationship with the controversial family.

To be honest, this association didn’t necessarily prove as far-reaching as others but it illustrates their influence.

Here’s what you need to know.

CSA lost R2 million in sponsorship

The governing body has written off this amount, which is related to The New Age’s bankrolling of the short-lived Impi franchise in the domestic T20 competition.

It was a side that was supposed to give players on the fringes of franchise cricket an opportunity to play.

The team was based at Willowmoore Park in Benoni, whose naming rights was owned by the Gupta-owned Sahara computers.

CSA tried to recoup the monies but eventually gave up.

Majola lobbied for R10 million in funding from government for a pretty random international T20 match

In 2011 and 2012, the Proteas and India played in the so-called Friendship Cup.

Majola, who held his CSA position between 2001 and 2012, specifically wanted the amount for 2012’s game at the Wanderers.

There is no evidence of that money ever being disbursed by the department of sport and recreation, then under the guidance of Fikile Mbalula.

In an exchange of e-mails, Mbalula’s special adviser, Max Fuzani, wrote “the go-ahead” had been given.

Majola then “formally accepted” the offer.

Later, Fuzani wrote back that Mbalula “agreed in principle to support the event” but wanted further documentation clarifying the roles of “stakeholders”.

Negotiations took place just over a month before the game, which raises questions over CSA’s corporate governance at the time.

The New Age pledged R500 000 for advertising space at the match but insiders claim such a low figure made no business sense.

Majola had more than just official cricket dealings with the Guptas

Numerous e-mails show Majola offering “business opportunities” to the family related to mining and technology.

He was a guest at Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar’s final Test in Mumbai in November 2013, apparently paid for by the Guptas.

Was Majola fired because of his relationship with the family?

Yes and no.

The Guptas, who had an association with former controversial Indian Premier League commissioner Lalit Modi, were instrumental in bringing 2009’s tournament to South Africa.

Given the success of the tournament, Majola decided to pay R4.7 million in bonuses to CSA staff but did so illegally.

He did the same thing with the ICC Champions Trophy later that year.

Majola was eventually found guilty on nine charges and dismissed after a disciplinary hearing.

The commission of inquiry set up by Mbalula and chaired by Judge Chris Nicholson led to numerous organisational reforms.

Do these revelations affect CSA now?

No.

The governing body has had new presidents and CEOs since then and they have tried to be more transparent.

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