Johannesburg: Cricket South Africa's (CSA) acting president and the chairman of its audit committee resigned on Wednesday in the wake of a hidden bonus scandal and a damning report into the running of the national association.
CSA said acting president, AK Khan decided to resign from all cricket administration only days after he was criticised in the report by a government-appointed committee for allegedly protecting chief executive Gerald Majola, who is accused of trying to hide uncleared bonus payments.
John Blair, chairman of CSA's Audit and Risk Committee, also quit. He has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
Majola is now under pressure to also step down after the committee said he breached company law by hiding bonus payments made to him and a former CSA official when South Africa hosted the 2009 Indian Premier League (IPL). Majola declined to comment on the report until after he meets with the CSA board this weekend.
In his departing comments, Khan conceded the long-running bonus scandal was hampering the sport.
"The fact has to be faced that we have not been able to resolve the problem that has bedeviled our cricket for the past two years, and I believe the time has come for fresh leadership to take the game forward. I would like to apologize to our fans and the country for the fact that this matter remains unresolved at the current time," Khan said.
The three-member committee, which was led by a retired judge, released its stinging report on Friday. It said Majola broke corporate law by deliberately concealing a 1.1 million rand (US$ 140,000) bonus he negotiated for himself from the IPL. He is also accused of using CSA money to pay for the travel for his wife and children.
The committee recommended that Majola be suspended and evidence be passed to the national prosecutor for a possible criminal investigation. The report is being looked at by the minister of sport, who will then report to South Africa President Jacob Zuma.
Khan was criticised for his role as the head of an internal CSA inquiry that initially cleared Majola. The committee doubted the impartiality of the inquiry and concluded that documents were "either destroyed or deliberately suppressed."
The committee also recommended that CSA's tax status as a nonprofit organisation should be investigated, and even questioned the body's commitment to the development of cricket.
South Africa remains one of cricket's leading international teams, being ranked No 2 in both the Test and one-day international standings. It has the world's top-ranked Test bowler, ODI batsman and ODI bowler. But the impact of the scandal is being felt.
CSA struggled to find a sponsor for a high-profile home series against Australia last year, with regular big-money backers apparently no longer willing to be associated with the sport because of the scandal.
This week the players' association urged CSA to undertake reform following the release of the report.
"The players have been patient throughout a long and unhappy period of instability, but now that there are clear recommendations we expect the CSA Board to act immediately and decisively," said Tony Irish, South African Cricketers' Association chief executive.