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Delays mar Majola's hearing

Firdose Moonda

May 31, 2012

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Cricket South Africa chief executive Gerald Majola speaks to the media, Johannesbug, June 6, 2011
Gerald Majola was suspended on the recommendation of the Nicholson report © Getty Images
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Suspended CSA chief executive Gerald Majola's future remains uncertain after the deadline for the completion of his disciplinary hearing passed. Majola was supposed to learn his fate by May 31 but the hearing has not even started as various bureaucratic delays continue to provide speed bumps on the road to a conclusion.

One such hold up has been Majola's objection to hearing's chairman, John Myburgh, overseeing proceedings. Myburgh was appointed by the Johannesburg Bar Council which Majola's lawyers took issue with.

The wording of the Nicholson report - the result of a ministerial commission of inquiry which led to Majola's suspension - stated that the chairperson for the hearing should be chosen "by the chairperson of the society of advocates" but did not specify which society. Majola's lawyers argued that they understood that provision to mean the general society and not the Johannesburg Bar. As a result, they wanted the process of choosing a chairperson to restart.

Majola's camp failed in their attempt to have Myburgh removed but there has been a further issue of contention. They have asked for arbitration instead of the prescribed disciplinary hearing. According to South Africa's labour laws, arbitration would allow both parties to have a say in who chairs the proceedings.

The delay means the matter enters its 22nd month, after first making headlines in July 2010, when it was discovered that R4.7million ($ 671,428) was paid in bonuses to 40 CSA staff, following the successful hosting of the IPL and Champions Trophy in 2009. Three investigations into the payments - an internal, one external and a ministerial commission - all found that the money had not been declared to the board. However, CSA chose to only reprimand Majola after the first two inquiries were complete but were forced to act differently when the country's Minister of Sport, Filike Mblaula intervened.

Mbalula ordered another investigation, to be chaired by retired judge Chris Nicholson and instructed CSA to comply with the recommendations Nicholson made. In March, Majola was suspended for his alleged role in the payments.

As matters stand to date, there is no expected date for conclusion, although CSA aim to remain on track to restructure their board by the next AGM in September. The new-look board will, in keeping with the recommendations of the Nicholson report, be smaller and incorporate more independent directors.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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