Johannesburg: Former Cricket South Africa President Mtutuzeli Nyoka admitted to having been so blinded by loyalty to his childhood friend Gerald Majola that he unquestioningly accepted everything that the CSA chief executive told him, including a theory that a "white mafia" was trying to get him out.
Mtutuzeli told the inquiry into the financial affairs of CSA, initiated by Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, that he was "shocked" when former Board audit committee member Colin Beggs told him about the alleged transgressions in respect of huge IPL bonuses paid to Majola and other CSA executives.
The IPL II was played in South Africa two years ago due to security concerns of the general elections in India.
"I just could not believe that what (Beggs) was saying was true because Gerald (Majola) had listened to me and seen me do harsh things to people in his defence and he said absolutely nothing," Nyoka said.
"I was in a state of conflict because I was being confronted with facts and I had this friendship and loyalty to Gerald," he said.
Nyoka said he sought guidance from Director of Public Prosecutions Vusi Pikoli, a mutual friend of Majola and himself, whose advice was to serve the interests of CSA above his relationship with Majola.
"I asked Gerald: 'After everything that I've done; defending you against all comers; taking you to the Minister of Sport; why did you not share with the person who was prepared to put his body on the line for you, the fact that you are sitting on R2m?'"
Nyoka said Majola's response in the presence of five people had been that he had never declared his bonuses to any CSA president in the past and would not do so to Nyoka either.
Nyoka said he had been convinced by Majola that there was an effort to oust him by a group of white executives at the provincial Gauteng Cricket Board which wanted the contract between CSA and the IPL II organisers to be made public.
As a result, Nyoka and Majola decided to take away international games from the Wanderers, controlled by the GCB.
The proposed ban was lifted after intervention by the then sports minister.
"I had harsh words with (GCB member) Paul Harris when I didn't understand what he was talking about, but I just believed this 'white mafia' theory against Gerald," Nyoka said.
Nyoka said he had also proposed a bonus of three years of Majola's salary while being oblivious to the fact that he had already been paid a large bonus by the IPL.
In the acrimonious fight between Majola and Nyoka, the latter was twice ousted from his position in absentia.
An independent inquiry that Nyoka initiated by audit firm KPMG had found that Majola had breached the Companies Act.
Mbalula established the inquiry headed by Judge Chris Nicholson amid widespread public displeasure with CSA and sponsors reluctant to be associated with the brand.
Majola and the CSA will get the opportunity to put their side of the story to the inquiry when hearings resume next week.