COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO CRICKET MATCH FIXING AND RELATED MATTERS
HELD ON: 21-06-2000
AT THE CENTRE OF THE BOOK
COMMISSIONER: Mr Wallace, I understand that it is your intention to ask several questions of Mr Cronje still, in-chief, so to speak?
MR WALLACE: Yes, that is correct.
COMMISSIONER: May I clear up with you something that concerns me a little, in the evidence that he has already given, he says at one part of the evidence that it is his resolve to tell the whole truth to this Commission, elsewhere in the evidence, I find what may or may not be a suggestion that that is going to be the whole truth, limited by the terms of reference. Am I wrong in that?
MR WALLACE: That is not entirely correct Mr Commissioner. The position is that his evidence relates to the terms of reference of this Commission. Might I appeal through you, Mr Commissioner, this is a difficult enough hearing as it is, but could we perhaps take 30 seconds, and everybody in possession of a cellphone in this room, take it out, check that it is off and leave it that way, it is most distracting to have these cellphones going off around one, whilst one is endeavouring to concentrate on what is a difficult enough task?
COMMISSIONER: I entirely agree with you Mr Wallace, may I appeal to people here of whatever description, public, press, law, please disengage your cellphones because they are very distracting.
MR WALLACE: Reverting then to the question you have posed to me, Mr Commissioner, there is a paragraph in the terms of reference which indicates that if there are further matters which the Commission feels should be investigated, a prima facie indication was given by the State President, that he would be willing to extend the frame of reference of the Commission.
To the extent therefore that some of the evidence, which has been given, has touched upon matters not in fact specifically mentioned within your current terms of reference, we have dealt with that. Obviously we are not able to prepare on matters which are otherwise, outside that, it is a matter of fairness and flexibility. That has been our approach to it. If we believe that pursuing matters which are not within the terms of reference, which have not been canvassed by other witnesses, and the like, it is unfair to Mr Cronje, we will raise that and we will object at the appropriate time.
He has endeavoured in the statement to cover the matters which are within your terms of reference and certain other matters which have arisen in the course of the Commission, and he has given information about matters concerning himself, which strictly construed, fall outside the current terms of reference of the Commission.
COMMISSIONER: Well, Mr Wallace, that may be technically probably correct, it is no difficult matter to extend the terms of reference by a publication in the Gazette and it may be necessary for me to do that. I am, I must say to you that unless I am satisfied that your client has told the whole truth, outside of the terms of reference and within the terms of reference, I will not feel myself in a position, this is a prima facie view and I could, I am always open to submission and correction, but I do not see myself being in a position where I am able to make a recommendation to the Prosecuting Authority.
But if, as I say, and obviously you may have all the time you need to consult with your client, if you feel that the terms of reference should be widened, so as to cover the whole field of his activities, of course, I am prepared to do that, or to ask the President to do that.
MR WALLACE: Mr Commissioner, I don't want to engage in argument or make legal submissions at this stage on that matter, I am well aware from your comments, of your concern in regard to the question of indemnity and such recommendations as you feel you can appropriately make.
May I from my side, at this stage, simply record a concern on behalf of my client, that frankly Mr Chairman, the manner in which you have just made that statement, perhaps inadvertently and unconsciously, does tend to convey an impression that you feel that there are matters with which Mr Cronje should deal, with which he has not dealt with or that he has not in fact told the full truth, and I am concerned that there should be even the appearance, because that is certainly, I am afraid, I must say, the impression your remarks make, that you have a prima facie view to that effect.
If that is in fact your concern, we would ask you in fairness to Mr Cronje, to indicate to us what the areas are that you would wish to have explored, and which you feel there is deficiency in, in order that we may take instructions and deal with them. It is after all not simply a matter of some generalised notion of fairness, it is a matter of the proper conduct of Commissions, in accordance with the seven rules with which you are familiar, that he should be told what the matters are, on which he is to give evidence.
It is impossible for me, frankly, Mr Commissioner, to prepare a witness, to bring him to court or to a Commission, when I am unaware of the matters on which he is to give evidence. So, if there are areas of concern, we would appeal to you, Mr Commissioner, to convey that to us, and then we can take instructions and we can express an attitude. Our approach to the preparation of the statement in conjunction with Mr Cronje, which constituted the first part of his evidence-in-chief, was that he was dealing with all the matters which are within the framework of the Commission, which have been touched on and the additional matters which he believes are relevant and might come under an extended scope of the Commission.
I can do no more than that, but as I say Mr Commissioner, my aim is not at this stage to engage in some argument, I don't think that that is necessary. We would simply appeal, in fairness to Mr Cronje, that if there are matters in regard to which it is suggested that he has something to tell you which might come within an extended frame of reference, we be told what it is. We have simply tried to deal with the evidence and if I may read, Mr Commissioner, just by way of reminder, the second of the Samon(?) Rules -
"Before any person who is involved in an inquiry is called as a witness, he should be informed of any allegations which are made against him and the substance of the evidence in support of that."
That is what we have tried to deal with, that has been our approach. If it is deficient, we would like an indication as to where it is thought to be deficient.
COMMISSIONER: First of all, Mr Wallace, let me dispel any suggestion that I have any prima facie view beyond obviously the knowledge that I already have, which has come from Mr Cronje of certain of his activities, but I have not prejudged this issue.
Like you I don't intend to indulge in legal argument. I at this stage am putting to you, and I felt it appropriate to do so at this early stage, the problem and it's been exacerbated and I say that in the nicest possible way, by the evidence of Dr Lewis, the problem I have, or which faces me with regard to a recommendation that I have to make to the National Director of Public Prosecutions, it boils down very simply to this - I am satisfied that Mr Cronje has fully and frankly volunteered the truth, not the truth limited by the terms of reference, or I am not so satisfied.
If I felt it appropriate to make my attitude clear, I have a dual role, I am the Commissioner who is going to make the factual findings, I also have an additional responsibility which is that which attaches to the question of his immunity or indemnity from prosecution. But perhaps we can follow that up at a later stage.
MR WALLACE: Thank you Mr Commissioner. Mr Commissioner, I know we started late, is it your intention to take any form of short adjournment, or should we simply press on with Mr Cronje?
MS BATOHI: Mr Commissioner, sorry, can I interpose at this stage?
MS BATOHI: May I suggest that we do have a short adjournment at this stage?
COMMISSIONER: We will adjourn for no longer than 15 minutes.
COMMISSION ADJOURNS AT 11H20
ON RESUMPTION AT 11H50
WESSEL JOHANNES CRONJE: (s.u.o.)
EXAMINATION BY MR WALLACE: (cont)
Mr Cronjé, there are a few matters I would just like you to amplify upon from your evidence on Thursday. But can we start with your role as a professional cricketer, and could you perhaps indicate to the Commission, what your various sources of income were from your cricketing activities.
MR CRONJE: A professional cricketer will obviously have a salary with his Provincial Union or Board, he would also have a contract with the United Cricket Board of South Africa, those two I think in the last three or four years, have been combined in a one contract overseeing both your duties as an international cricketer and also a provincial cricketer.
You then further as a cricketer, have sponsor opportunities, which will include endorsements of products, speaking engagements, promotions. I think that will be about it, Mr Wallace.
MR WALLACE: If like yourself, you enjoyed some success both nationally and internationally, those rewards can be quite substantial, can't they?
MR CRONJE: Yes, I think it is in the back of Dr Bacher's statement, where he does mention our salaries and I think the proportion of our salaries is about 50/50 when it comes to performance and bonuses for winnings. We decided a few years ago that the best way to get the best out of the players, was to make sure that in fact there is quite a substantial bonus for performing well.
The monies that you earn from your salary can be substantially higher if the team performs well, and obviously if you are a person like a Jonty Rhodes or a Bobby Skinstad, your endorsements off the field, can be quite high and can be quite substantial.
MR WALLACE: In your case you were in receipt throughout the relevant period of salaries from the United Cricket Board, plus the bonuses that you have talked about and from the Free State Cricket Union, is that correct?
MR CRONJE: If I understand you correctly, Mr Wallace, you are talking about the period from 1992 when I was a professional cricketer, I was employed by the Free State Cricket Union and also the United Cricket Board of South Africa, so yes, I was paid by them, yes.
MR WALLACE: And that continued to be the position from 1992 through till April of this year?
MR CRONJE: I think my last salary cheque from the United Cricket Board, was paid in on the 19th of April of this year.
MR WALLACE: Now, as far as sponsorships are concerned, could you perhaps give an indication of the range of sponsorships which you personally enjoyed during that period, as a general proposition obviously Mr Cronjé, I don't want you to go into every year and how much every year and so on. Just as a general and broad indication of your ability to earn?
MR CRONJE: I think it is fair to say that bat sponsorships will probably make out the biggest portion. Over the period of five or six years, it can be up to anywhere between R500 000 and R750 000. Sponsorships through clothing and footwear can in a five or six year period, run up anywhere to R500 000. The same goes for restaurant groups or auditors or the like. It depends on the player and it depends very much on how much that player actually wants to go out of his way to help the sponsors and how much time he's got on his hands and then obviously how much public appearances he does.
Yes, so it can run up huge amounts over a specific period and considering that most years, in the last three or four, I have only spent 30 or 40 days a year at home, I would think that I spent quite a fair amount of time, in the public through sponsors and through public appearances.
MR WALLACE: Did you have assistance and professional advice in arranging sponsorships and negotiating endorsements and speaking fees and the like?
MR CRONJE: I tried to do everything on my own, up until 1995, but the year I finished playing for Leicestershire, I realised that with the South African captaincy it might be wise for me to get professional help, and I was introduced to Mr Clifford Green, who is now acting on behalf of the United Cricket Board.
Mr Clifford Green was my, call it, Promotional Manager/Advisor - I don't want to call him an agent, because he was more of a professional. I think agents have a bad name, personally, in South Africa. So he was my Advisor/Manager and he was seeking sponsorships for me from the period September 1995 up until April/May this year, I think.
MR WALLACE: On what basis was he remunerated for his services?
MR CRONJE: A normal agent, or a manager or an advisor would probably earn a commission or a fee. In my case, I paid Mr Green a monthly retainer, which wasn't a very large amount, and I also paid him a commission of 15% on whatever he earned for me off the field, and that was also done through contracts that were signed before the period of September 1995, which was carried over into his name.
MR WALLACE: Have you for the purposes of this Commission, assessed how much you paid Mr Green for his services? Perhaps I should start that question again because of the feedback, Mr Cronjé. Have you for the purposes of this Commission, ascertained accumulatively what you paid to Mr Green for his services over that period?
MR CRONJE: After speaking to my auditors, I believe the figure from 1995 when he started, until recently was in the extent of R600 000.
MR WALLACE: So from that, can we get an idea of the amount of money you were able to earn yourself?
MR CRONJE: Yes, I think if you can multiply 15 x 6 to try and get as close as you can, yes, I think it is more or less. You can work out what I earned out of endorsements, through the hard work of Mr Green, yes.
MR WALLACE: In the light of professional advice which you received, were some of your activities conducted on behalf of Trusts of which you were the beneficiary as such?
MR CRONJE: Yes, I formed a Trust, the Hansie Cronje Trust also around that period. I think it started in, somewhere in 1995, I stand to be corrected, but I think it was September 1995.
I also am a 50% shareholder of a Trust called the Skeed Trust with my brother-in-law and I am also a Trustee called the Chardonnay Trust in South Africa.
MR WALLACE: As you mentioned your brother-in-law, perhaps we can deal with that. Entirely separate from your cricketing activities, did you also engage in investments in the property field?
MR CRONJE: I believe I have given a list of properties bought and sold to the Commission as part of my financial statement, and I have been fortunate in that most of the properties that I have bought and sold, had good capital gains at the time that I sold.
MR WALLACE: And presumably you have made arrangements to make conventional investments through the stock market and the like?
MR CRONJE: I think one of the advantages of being a cricketer is that you have your ear close to the market, not only in this country, but also worldwide and we have access to some of the best newspapers and business reports and you do have the odd business dinner and business lunch and you do hear about the odd good buy on the market, and you try and follow your own nose.
I studied for a B.Com myself and I tried to make what I thought was reasonable investments and yes, I have burnt my fingers a few times, but I have also done reasonably well through that.
MR WALLACE: When you are asked to speak at functions and so on, do you charge a fee for that?
MR CRONJE: That fee varies from whether it is for a school, a church, a cricket organisation, whether it is for a professional business and where it is. I mean it is a little bit unfair to ask somebody in Bloemfontein to ask the same fee and what it would be in Johannesburg or London for that matter, and it would range anything from R500 to I would say R25 000 for some of the major corporates.
MR WALLACE: And when the team was successful in various matches it played, leaving aside your bonuses under your contract with the UCB, what prize money and so on attaches to that and how did you deal with that?
MR CRONJE: We get given a man of the match, he also earns a win bonus from the United Cricket Board, which I think is through the kindness of the sponsors, and the prize money really is not that significant, it is mainly the sponsor's bonuses that adds up. That is all divided by the team and done through the United Cricket Board of South Africa.
MR WALLACE: A proportion of your earnings in those circumstances would have arisen outside South Africa, is that correct?
MR CRONJE: Yes, I first played in England in 1992 when I played League cricket. I opened an account with Natwest in 1995 when I played for Leicestershire and started obviously earning foreign earnings in 1995.
MR WALLACE: And were those earnings usually deposited, initially, in that Natwest account when you had the opportunity to do so?
MR CRONJE: That was the only account I had at the time, and that was where the money was kept, was with Natwest in England.
MR WALLACE: And did you by those means accumulate sufficient funds to make it worth your while, to invest those funds through Meryll Linch in London?
MR CRONJE: I was advised by my legal advisors in South Africa that you don't get good rates if it just lies in a savings account and that you should leave it up to professionals, people like Meryll Linch to invest your money for you, in an investment account.
MR WALLACE: And have those funds accumulated over the years through successful investment by Meryll Linch on your behalf?
MR CRONJE: I think in particular the last sort of year or two years had done reasonably well. It is obviously attached to the markets around the world, and I think it is particular the Nasdec the Dow Jones and then obviously the Futsi and the German markets and obviously something in the East as well.
MR WALLACE: Those funds, are they now held in a Trust or which you and your wife, are the beneficiaries?
MR CRONJE: Since November of 1999 Meryll Linch had opened a Trust for my wife and I which I understand we are the beneficiaries, yes.
MR WALLACE: Apart from that, a couple of years back, the Minister of Finance relaxed the internal foreign exchange regulations in South Africa to permit South African citizens to export funds from this country to invest overseas, are you aware of that?
MR CRONJE: I am aware of it, and at the time I also sent out some money to be invested by Meryll Linch.
MR WALLACE: Apart from your conventional earnings from cricket and endorsements and so on, you recently had a what is called a Benefit Year, is that correct?
MR CRONJE: That is correct, a cricketer after a number of years, is granted an opportunity by his province to call it put something back in his own pocket, call it a Provident Fund, call it a Pension for a cricketer, and it is basically the public's way of showing their appreciation for that cricketer through the arrangement of various events, and I had a particularly good team doing my Benefit Year for me.
MR WALLACE: When you say you had a particularly good team, can you give us an indication just in round figures of what you earned during that year?
MR CRONJE: I don't have the figures in front of me, but it is a substantial amount, I think it is somewhere, after all the deductions and all the charities and all the commissions, I think it is R1,4m if I am not mistaken.
MR WALLACE: Is that subject to a ruling from the Commissioner for the South African Revenue Services, in regard to its taxability?
MR CRONJE: As far as I know up until that stage, the only document that I have in my possession, it is granted as capital gains by the Inland Commissioner, yes.
MR WALLACE: The reason I am asking this background material, Mr Cronjé, is from time to time, there has been mention both in the press and in these proceedings, and my learned friend mentioned it a little earlier today about the acquisition about your home at Fancourt.
Would you care to tell the Commission what the sources were from which you funded the acquisition of that home?
MR CRONJE: The home was bought in two parts. The first part is a plot which I bought mainly through the money that I had from the sale of a flat which I had in Cape Town, also from whatever savings I had up until that stage, and then later I put all the savings that I had plus the money from the Benefit Fund, plus also an Old Mutual policy which paid out in June of 1999, all of that money went into a Braite(?) Merchant Bank account and from the Braite Merchant Bank account it was transferred by the Hansie & Bertha Trust, Standard Bank account, through the offices of Israel and Sackstein in Bloemfontein, and was paid over to Findlay and Tait for the Platina Golf (Pty) Ltd.
COMMISSIONER: I think you should add that was for the house, was it not?
MR CRONJE: Yes, that was for the house part, sorry Mr Commissioner.
MR WALLACE: And that property is registered in the name of the Hansie & Bertha Trust, is that right?
MR CRONJE: That property is currently registered in the Hansie & Bertha Trust, yes.
MR WALLACE: The earnings you have enjoyed from the various sources you have been dealing with in your testimony this morning, have those sufficed and more than sufficed to pay for that property?
MR CRONJE: Mr Wallace, I think it is fair to say that since becoming an international cricketer, and also having a sustenance allowance on a daily basis, whether you are playing at home or away, I haven't had a very high cost of living. Up until the time that I got married I was living with my folks, I didn't have a student loan, as my dad was attached the University of the Free State, in fact I had a study bursary because of my sport. The same goes for my wife, she didn't have a study loan either and also had a study bursary because of being the bright one in the family, and she has since 1994 been a full-time physiotherapist and has basically looked after herself and has also run up a very successful practice which she sold in February of this year.
I at no stage had any worries about cost of living, in fact I think I actually saved most of my meal allowance and sustenance allowances because of the generosity of South African restaurant owners and friends and my teammates will also tell you that I wasn't always the first one to take the wallet out when we were buying a round of drinks.
MR WALLACE: In summary then, you have been financially very fortunate and successful from your ordinary cricketing activities, is that right?
MR CRONJE: I was very blessed at the time that I played for South Africa and I have earned a substantial amount of money through the hard work of other people and obviously through the cricketing talents that I had, yes.
MR WALLACE: There are certain things, if we can move on from financial matters, Mr Cronjé, do you have in front of you the statement which you read as constituting the first part of your evidence-in-chief, last Thursday?
MR CRONJE: I do, Mr Wallace.
MR WALLACE: There are a few matters there, which I think perhaps you could hopefully amplify upon. Could we start by asking you to turn to page 3 of that statement?
We are dealing with the approaches which were made to you in January 1995, prior to the first One-day international final against Pakistan in the Mandela Cup. Do you have that portion? How was the initial approach made to you?
MR CRONJE: I was in my room in the Cape Sun when I was contacted on my hotel phone by a gentleman who only named himself as John, who told me that he was a journalist and that he would like to have a word with me. It is common practice in the South African cricket side, to try and be as much as you can, friendly and open to journalists and particularly during that time of just coming back into international sport, I was trying my best to build up a good relationship with the media, and in particular the foreign media from the sub-continent - as coming from the Free State, there was a tag that we didn't get on with people from the sub-continent.
MR WALLACE: So having had this request made to you, did you go to John's room?
MR CRONJE: Yes, I went up to John's room as I normally would, to a journalist's room or they would come to mine, but I went up to his room and was invited in and asked to sit down and what struck me at first, was obviously he was very friendly, but that there was no notepad or dictaphone in front of him. I found that a little bit strange.
Then a couple of minutes into the conversation, he said to me that he is not actually a journalist, but that he is in fact a fixer.
MR WALLACE: What was your initial understanding of that expression?
MR CRONJE: I don't know, I think in the Free State, I think a fixer would be somebody that sorts you out when you behave badly, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but he made it clear to me that he in fact was a match fixer.
MR WALLACE: And your initial response to that he was a match fixer, how did you understand that?
MR CRONJE: Well, a match fixer as far as I know, is somebody that would arrange a match between one country and another, but he made it clear to me that a match fixer is somebody who would place bets on one side and then asks somebody on the other side, to perform less than his best, in order to make sure that his bet is actually in favour and basically wins, so it was made clear to me that he had money on the game or wanted to put money on the game, or he was a gambler, yes.
MR WALLACE: And, was that the first time you had had an approach of that sort at any stage in your cricketing career?
MR CRONJE: That was the first time that anybody had asked me to influence a game of cricket, yes, that was the first time that I was approached, and it was the first time that I had actually physically spoken to a bookmaker, about influencing a game, yes.
MR WALLACE: I don't want to go away from that, I will come back later to one aspect of that answer if you don't mind, just for completeness, but what was your reaction to this suggestion, Mr Cronjé?
MR CRONJE: Mr Wallace, I wish I can say today that I told him to get lost, and I wish I can say today that I told him to jump off the building, or throw him off the building, but I didn't. I was in fact a little bit tempted. I also had pride of playing for my country in mind. I wouldn't say I was confused, but I just didn't say no straight away. My reply to him was "let me think about it" and I went out and said to him that he must call me back, give me some time to think about it and call me back, which I now know was the wrong thing to do, because a simple no at that time, would have made my life a lot easier and wouldn't have put me in the position that I am in now, at the moment, but I went back to my room, and I thought about it.
MR WALLACE: Just remind us, how old were you at that time?
MR CRONJE: In 1995, I think I turned 26 in that year.
MR WALLACE: What did you do when you went back to your room?
MR CRONJE: On the first couple of years, and even till the end of my career, I sort of, because I was quite young, I confided in a lot of the senior players, and my initial reaction was to try and find a senior player to speak to or to share this with.
The first one that I got hold of was Pat Symcox and I asked him to come to my room.
MR WALLACE: Can you as we sit here today, remember whether Mr Symcox was simply the first person you tried to get hold of, or whether you tried to get hold of others and they weren't available, or are you unable to help us with that?
MR CRONJE: I am unable to help you with that one, Mr Wallace.
MR WALLACE: But you did get hold of Mr Symcox, and he came to see you in your room?
MR CRONJE: Yes, he came to my room. I told him that we were offered an amount, I said in my affidavit that it was around $10 000, it wasn't a large amount. Mr Symcox's reaction wasn't one of "I will throw you out of the building if you accept, dare to accept it, or I will hang you from Table Mountain", Mr Symcox's reaction was plainly that he thought that we had a very good chance of winning the game, I agreed and he said that it wasn't a big enough figure anyway, and that we shouldn't accept it.
After Mr Symcox left, I phoned John up in his room and I said to him that we are not interested.
MR WALLACE: At the time you became captain of South Africa, who was the youngest member of the team?
MR CRONJE: I believe I was the youngest member of the team, when I became captain for the first time.
MR WALLACE: Now just following upon that, did this person called John contact you later?
MR CRONJE: He didn't call me again during that match, but he did call me again in the year, following the match in Johannesburg.
MR WALLACE: I just want to know, how did you communicate to him that the offer was unacceptable?
MR CRONJE: I phoned him from my internal telephone to his room and said to him that the offer is not on.
MR WALLACE: Are you able to give us a description of this person which would help anybody to identify him?
MR CRONJE: He is a Pakistani or Indian man, typical looks from the sub-continent, dark hair, moustache, I would say between the ages of 30 and 40, probably more towards 40, medium build, not very weighty, I would say about between 65 and, no, make it between 70 and 75 kg.
MR WALLACE: Why are you sure that he is from the sub-continent as opposed to being from South Africa?
MR CRONJE: Well, I think that during my travels to the sub-continent, I have become reasonably accustomed to the way the people talk and the way the people look.
MR WALLACE: So it is merely a sense of nuance of language and so on which leads you to that?
MR CRONJE: That is correct.
MR WALLACE: In your statement, in paragraph 10 at page 3, you say that it is possible that he may be the same individual who was referred to by Shane Warne and Mark Waugh during those hearings which were held in secret by the Australian Cricket Board. What is the basis for saying that other than the similarity in names?
MR CRONJE: There is no real substance to that, it is just the similarity of the names, and the fact that we were playing against Pakistan and I heard the name subsequently
in newspapers and read about Shane Warne and Mark Waugh's statements, there is nothing more to that.
MR WALLACE: Obviously at the time of these events involving you, you didn't know about the events involving Mr Waugh and Mr Warne?
MR CRONJE: The only thing, if I am correct, that I can remember was that when we were playing our last match in 1994, I think it was in Faizalabad, against Pakistan, we had them at a time 75/5 and the team was joking about the fact that we thought that they had been throwing the game, but in fact Ijaz Ahmed walked in and smashed 98 off about 80 balls to win the game and that was quickly put to bed.
I think if that is correct, yes, I don't, I stand to be corrected, but I don't think at the time the Waugh and Warne story had broke yet.
MR WALLACE: Can we just get back to one of your answers, you said that this was the first time you had been approached in that regard. Did you have any awareness based on fact, of similar approaches to any other cricketer on the international scene, be it from South Africa or elsewhere, prior to this incident in January 1995?
MR CRONJE: Once again, the only incident that I can remember as a child was the Dennis Lilley/Rodney Marsh affair at Headingly, 1981 and I am not sure whether the Shane Warne/Mark Waugh thing had broken at the time. So that was definitely the first, but I stand to be corrected, yes.
MR WALLACE: You mentioned in paragraph 14 at page 4 that Mr Wessels had told you that he knew of offers, but were you given any chapter and verse or any detail which would be of assistance in these proceedings?
MR CRONJE: No, the only recollection I have of that 1994 tour was that, I am not exactly sure what year it was or when it was, but I know that Kepler said that he was sitting at the same table as Salim Malik that night. I don't think he said that he overheard a conversation, I think he was merely referring to that night when, in Mark Waugh's evidence, he was approached by Salim Malik. Kepler Wessels had just said that that was the rumour, not rumour, that was what he had heard that was going on, and subsequent to that, I have read in newspaper articles and also in that report from Pakistan that that was in fact what happened. So there were no names mentioned to me by Mr Wessels, the only names that came up were the names that I have read in subsequent newspapers and also in the report.
MR WALLACE: Do you have any personal or direct knowledge of match fixing or bribes or anything of that sort, relating to other cricketers, outside the material dealt with in your statement delivered to this Commission on Thursday?
MR CRONJE: I have no reason to believe that there are other players involved. The only fact, and I have mentioned it in my affidavit, that was strange to me was that when we walked onto the field in Cape Town, was that Salim Malik when we got close to the pitch, asked me, whether I had spoken to John. That was all, I mean, I don't know whether he was in fact involved with John or not, but that was the only time that I got suspicious, and as I say in my affidavit, I just nodded and walked on and felt ashamed about it. I didn't want to share it with anyone else, and never spoke to him about it ever again in my life, and tried to get to Trevor Quirk as quickly as possible.
MR WALLACE: Can we go on to the tour in 1996 please, page 4. Just briefly, the incident referred to in paragraph 15, you say you cannot recall precisely when this person Sunil approached you? Was it as far as you can recall, prior to the events dealt with in paragraph 16 which we are going to come to in a moment?
MR CRONJE: I know that during our trip which was 63 days, Paddy Upton, who was our Fitness Exercise Specialist, Herschelle Gibbs and myself, befriended Sunil and it was really a social friend, who really wanted to be seen with the team and tried his best to make us feel at home in Mumbai. I just put it in here for clarity and also for completeness, that Sunil at one stage asked me if I was interested, and indeed, he didn't offer any money and he didn't ask for what sort of information or anything like that. I will be incorrect if I give you a specific time during that period, or whether it was before.
Chances are it will be before the final one day international of that tour, because that was in fact the last day, or the second last day of the tour.
MR WALLACE: Yes. Well, can we then turn to deal with the incident in paragraph 16 of your statement. In the first place, and we do have the figures available if you need them, the state of the match on the evening of the third day, do you recall that?
MR CRONJE: We had bowled India out for a reasonably low score, as it was important for them to post a reasonable score, because there was talk in the media that the Indian Coach, Mandilal(?) had messed with the pitch and that it was going to take turn from days four and five and we were very pleased with the fact that I think, we bowled them out for around 210 or 220.
We then wanted to build a substantial lead on that in the first innings, but weren't successful to do that. We, I think were bowled out for about 40, or 30 or 40 runs less than them, and by the end of the third night, Azharuddin, Raoul Dravid and I think Sachin also got a few runs, so they must have had a lead, it would be a guess, but I would say in the region of 250 or 270 at that time, the end of the third night.
MR WALLACE: Do you recall who the not-out batsmen were overnight?
MR CRONJE: Well, I was later told, when I was studying the scorecards of that tour and also of this last tour, that I think at the crease was Raoul Dravid and Mohammad Azharuddin.
MR WALLACE: You were called by Mr Azharuddin to come up to his room, he wanted to introduce you to somebody, is that right?
MR CRONJE: That is incorrect Mr Wallace. I was called by Mr Azharuddin to go up to what he called a friend's room, or somebody that he knew, "'n kennis" as I say in Afrikaans, he wanted me to be introduced to a friend or "'n kennis".
COMMISSIONER: An acquaintance?
MR CRONJE: An acquaintance, yes. And it wasn't something that was out of the ordinary because on our tours to the sub-continent also to Australia or England, it is not uncommon for an opposition player to call you to his room for, to meet a friend for a promotion or in South Africa, I would regularly take some of my opposite numbers to the Standard Bank or the Castle Box for a quick glass of Coke at the end of the day.
MR WALLACE: And your relationship with Mr Azharuddin, was that a reasonably friendly relationship?
MR CRONJE: I have always had a very friendly relationship with Mr Azharuddin, yes.
MR WALLACE: Now, when you went to this room, you say that Mr Azharuddin introduced you to Mr Mukesh Gupta? Do you recall anything about, anything that was said to you about who this man was, or why he wanted to meet you or anything of that sort?
MR CRONJE: Mr Azharuddin just stood by the door and said that this is Mr Mukesh Gupta, and Mr Gupta then said "please call me MK" and Mr Azharuddin then left the room.
Mr Gupta in the next couple of minutes, told me that he was a jeweller and that he is very much interested in importing jewels, in specific diamonds from South Africa to India. That is how the conversation started.
MR WALLACE: Did he indicate whether there was anything relevant to his jewellery business that he wanted you to do?
MR CRONJE: He said to me that he would be in South Africa later that year and that he wanted to make contact with somebody from De Beers, in order to buy some diamonds. I am not sure whether he mentioned De Beers, or not, but I in fact said to him that I know Mr Mike Doherty from De Beers and that I will try and get him in touch with him. If you want me to, I think I told Mr Doherty about the person and he was a little bit reluctant to be of assistance, as De Beers had specific channels with which they worked, they didn't want to sell to individuals.
MR WALLACE: Right. Now after this discussion, what happened next?
MR CRONJE: Well, Mr Gupta was then turning to cricket and he was saying to me that in his opinion, the match had swung very heavily in India's favour, that they had a substantial lead, that we couldn't score 200 in the first innings, and that in the first test match, when we chased 170, we were bowled out I think it was 104, and that it was his opinion that South Africa had a very slim chance of winning that test match.
He then made it clear to me that he also had money on the match and that he had money on India to win that match.
MR WALLACE: Before we deal with the money. What was your assessment of the state of the game at that stage?
MR CRONJE: I think it was fair to say that for us to chase over 300 on the last day and a half of a test match on a turning wicket, it would be very difficult, especially in the light that they had three very good spinners at the time, and on the tour, we had difficulty in playing spinners, other than the Calcutta wicket which wasn't really a normal Indian bunsen burner, we would have had to play exceptionally well the next two days to turn it around.
MR WALLACE: Right, then when did the question of - what did he say in relation to money?
MR CRONJE: Well, he said you know, obviously he's got money on India and he would like to know if I would be interested in making sure that no miracles take place when we go out to bat for the second time.
MR WALLACE: And what was your response to that?
MR CRONJE: Once again Mr Wallace, I wish I can say that I said "get lost and we will show you and we will win the game", but my response was "well, I will take the money and I will see what I can do", which I did. In my mind, I probably said, not probably, I thought to myself "well, if we are going to struggle to win this test match, and this man is giving out money for jam, then I am not going to be stupid and not take it", so unfortunately I took the money.
It is a mistake that I made and I accept that.
MR WALLACE: What in fact happened with the match the next day?
MR CRONJE: Well, India built up a substantial lead and they got a big score. I don't know if they declared or if we eventually bowled them out, but they bowled us out for a relatively low score. I didn't speak to any of the players, I kept it quiet.
In my own opinion, it didn't affect the way I played. It may have affected me subconsciously. I felt very bad about that, I got my highest score of the trip in that second innings, but we still lost the game. I think that was enough in Mr Gupta's mind to satisfy him.
MR WALLACE: Well, according to a match report I have in front of me, Indian declared at just on 400/7 which left you to make what, 450 odd in the last innings?
MR CRONJE: Yes, it was a total above 400 that we had to chase, yes, and as I said the Indian pitches are not the easiest in the world to chase anything more than 250 on the last day.
MR WALLACE: I would like to read to you from that match report and ask for your comment on it. It is that -
"The match was effectively over as a contest barely an hour after lunch on the fourth day. Both Kirsten and Gibbs played down wrong line against the new ball bowler, Srinath and Prasad while Cullinan was needlessly run out, taking a chance against Tendulkar's arm at mid-off."
MR CRONJE: As far as I can remember that was the state of the game and I was batting with Andrew Hudson at the time.
MR WALLACE: And your dismissal, do you recall how it happened?
MR CRONJE: I can remember most of my dismissals throughout my career and in this particular, I was trying to be positive, as we discussed at the team meeting before that test match and I was caught driving a ball off Sunhil Joshi somewhere in the cover area, on a ball that just held up a little bit on the Indian pitch.
MR WALLACE: Other than taking the money, did you do anything consciously in the match to affect the result, as a result of receiving the money?
MR CRONJE: As I said, Mr Wallace, it did work on my mind, and I did feel guilty about it, I didn't do anything conscious about it, but if it did affect me, it was subconsciously, yes.
But I didn't speak to any other players, I never spoke to anyone about that, and I didn't expect any other player to perform under his merits.
MR WALLACE: Now if we can move on to paragraph 17, the One-day, the final One-day international was played two days after the last day of that test match, is that correct?
MR CRONJE: Yes, if my memory serves me correctly, ja, we flew from wherever that last test was, I think it was in Kampur to Mumbai and played a couple of days later in a benefit match for Mohinder, yes.
MR WALLACE: You have dealt with that meeting in your evidence, can you just look at what you have said in paragraph 17.2 of your statement at page 6?
MR CRONJE: Yes Mr Wallace.
MR WALLACE: You mentioned three players there who spoke out strongly against this offer, do you recall any others doing so?
MR CRONJE: I think there was a number of young players, in particular the names of Bojé, Adams, Klusener, Gibbs, I think Kirsten who didn't really say much, as they were very much the junior players at the time and did not really want to say much. I don't recall them saying anything for it or against it.
Those were about the only ones that I can remember, but in particular those three were very strong in what they said against the offer.
MR WALLACE: Now, I want you go to onto what you deal with in paragraph 17.3. Are you able to recall who the players were who remained after the meeting had ended?
MR CRONJE: It was a long time ago, and I think I have been influenced by what has been said so far to the Commission and what I have read in the newspapers, but when I first consulted with you, I think the names that came up in my mind if I am correct was McMillan, possibly Richardson and Symcox and if there were any others, I would be guessing.
MR WALLACE: Can you try and give us something of the reasoning behind the phone call to Mr Gupta about whether the offer could be increased? I appreciate it is a long time ago, but could you give us something of the flavour and the atmosphere in which that was done?
MR CRONJE: I know it sounds pretty stupid at this stage, after two and a half months of this, but the mood was very much a lighthearted mood and a joking mood at the end of that meeting. As I think a lot of the players were not only proud of themselves, but were also relieved and sitting around, we sort of joked about it and somebody said "well, we've got to phone this bloke and tell him that the offer has been rejected", I picked up the telephone and told him that the players had rejected the offer and I think between us, we wanted as a don't call it a joke, because it doesn't look good on black and white when you say it is a joke, but I think we were trying to see just how high this guy would go and eventually he was going to instead of upping it to 300 000 like we suggested, I think he would have settled for around $250 000 and that is why in some of the players' statements so far, in front of the Commission, the figure of $250 000 has come up and some of the other players have said $200 000 and that is where I think the difference in the number comes up.
MR WALLACE: You mentioned that you tended to look for advice to senior players in this regard. We know the views of the three you have mentioned in paragraph 17.2, but were you given any general advice by the other senior players relating to these matters, generally or this particular, I will leave this case specifically aside, but matters of match-fixing, of taking money to under-perform and so on, was there any general view expressed about whether that was right or wrong or could be done, or should be done, or could be thought about and so on?
MR CRONJE: I cannot recall any specific incident of a senior player standing up and saying that this is wrong other than Andrew Hudson, Daryll Cullinan, Derek Crookes, but I can't ever recall anyone suggesting that we should do it either. I don't think that anyone of the team members, certainly that I have played with since 1992, up until the current stage, would have anything to do with it.
I think that they are too proud to play for their country and I think that they were shocked when the news broke, but certainly they didn't speak out about it, but they certainly didn't encourage it, and I think they would have been disappointed if something like that happened.
MR WALLACE: Of the three that you have mentioned, Andrew Hudson is presumably by quite a long margin, the most senior player of the three?
MR CRONJE: Strangely enough, I think Daryll Cullinan has now played more matches than Andrew, but I think he is older than Daryll if I am not mistaken, certainly looks that way.
MR WALLACE: And he had after all played for South Africa from its inaugural test match after the restoration of participation in world cricket?
MR CRONJE: Yes, Andrew played from the very first game in India, but Daryll played in the pre-isolation era, he played a couple of games for the South Africans at the time.
MR WALLACE: Can I just deal with a general matter, were you in receipt of any general policy documents or directives or anything of that sort from the United Cricket Board in regard to these matters?
MR CRONJE: I know that somewhere between 1995, I think until now, the Code of Conduct and the behaviour of the players mentions that you are not allowed to have any contact with bookmakers or give any information that could be helpful to bookmakers. I am captain of the side, and I have gone through those ICC Code of Conducts and Regulations and I think that they have improved over the last two or three years, and they certainly are there for anyone to see, yes.
MR WALLACE: Can we come on to the events in South Africa at the end of 1996 and early 1997, also involving Mr Gupta, which are dealt with in paragraph 19 of you statement.
In paragraph 19.1 you say that you were asked to provide information. What kind of information did Mr Gupta want?
MR CRONJE: Mr Gupta I think in my opinion was on his first visit to South Africa, and he wanted to know what the conditions were like in Durban and I told him that there is no chance that India have got any hope to beat South Africa in Durban as it is probably the most suited to the South African side, and that we would give them a good "klap", and that was about all the information that I gave him.
He probably phoned me on a daily basis to find out how I thought the rest of the day would go, but I cannot remember giving him any information other than that I think that South Africa would beat them.
MR WALLACE: Which it did?
MR CRONJE: Yes, we beat them handsomely, yes.
MR WALLACE: Then dealing with the Cape Town test, you say you were only asked to tell him when and at what score we would declare?
MR CRONJE: Yes, it was - MK also stayed in the Cape Sun for the test match there and I am not sure whether I went to his room, or whether he contacted me on the telephone, but he wanted to find out from me more-or-less at what time, or more specifically at what score we were going to declare in the second innings, and I gave him a figure, I am not sure whether we got exactly that figure, but it was more-or-less a ball park, close to that figure, that we got to and we declared in the second innings.
MR WALLACE: And again the match was won relatively comfortably by South Africa?
MR CRONJE: Yes, I don't have the details in front of me, but as far as I can remember, we comfortably won that match as well.
MR WALLACE: Now you deal in paragraph 19.3 with the transfer of a sum of money into your savings account?
MR CRONJE: That is correct.
MR WALLACE: Now, did you at my request, through your accountants in Bloemfontein, secure the statement on a daily basis of that account, as a print-out which was sent through yesterday?
MR CRONJE: Yes, I do have it in front of me, Mr Wallace.
MR WALLACE: Mr Commissioner, it might perhaps help if copies of that were to be made available to the legal representatives, and to yourself, obviously as to follow this evidence.
Right, if I could draw attention to the entry about half way down the page, dated the 10th of January 1997, what is described as a cheque deposit at the Bloemfontein branch, an amount of R231 143,40. Do you have that?
MR CRONJE: I have that in front of me, yes.
MR WALLACE: Is that the deposit of about $50 000 into your savings account?
MR CRONJE: Well, we worked out at the exchange rate of 4.64 at the time, or during the month of January 1997, that that would be around R50 000, give or take a few rand, yes. I mean $50 000.
MR WALLACE: And that information with regard to the exchange rate and so on, was furnished to you this morning, by your accountant?
MR CRONJE: That is correct.
MR WALLACE: For the sake of the record, Mr Commissioner, just to satisfy ourselves, the banks aren't infallible, the accountant also advises us that although it is reflected as a cheque deposit, it was in fact a transfer, a direct transfer into the account, in other words it wasn't a conventional cheque deposit.
Now, Mr Cronje, again for the sake of completeness, in the course of considering this printout of the state of that account, did you give attention to the entry five days later, which is similarly recorded, of an amount of R139 158-76?
MR CRONJE: Yes, I did. I had a look at that, and I as a legal team, we did discuss the possibility that that could be related to the amount on the 10th, and I said in my affidavit that I was not sure about the amount that was transferred and it looks to me as though that could be, I am not sure whether it is in fact, but I said it could be part of that amount that went in on the 10th. I am not hundred percent sure.
MR WALLACE: So, and this is by way of amplification, there is a possibility that that may be an additional payment on a similar basis by Mr Gupta?
MR CRONJE: Well, if it is, then it was the payment for the two separate test matches, yes. That is how I understand it, I once again would like to say to you that I am not sure.
MR WALLACE: Again ...
COMMISSIONER: Forgive me Mr Wallace, Mr Cronje what - sorry, the two, you said that may be a payment R139 000 approximately, for the two separate matches. What are you referring to? I don't follow you?
MR CRONJE: I am referring to paragraph 19.1 where I said that I was asked by MK to provide information in respect of the first and second test, on which I understood he wished to place bets, an amount would depend on his winnings, and in respect of the first test I supplied him with team selections and then in respect of the second test, I was only asked to tell him at which score we would declare. I did that and then after the second test, MK transferred a sum of about $50 000 into my NBS savings account. When this affidavit was drawn up, that was what I thought the amount was, and I was under the impression that it was done in one amount. I was not aware that it was done, if it is in fact two amounts, if those two are related, then that is two amounts. I am not sure about that.
COMMISSIONER: Thank you.
MR WALLACE: Thank you Mr Commissioner. So the position is you are drawing that to the attention of the Commission for the sake of completeness, but you are actually uncertain as to what that payment is or what it relates to?
MR CRONJE: Yes, I have relied very heavily on my auditors for the sake of this Commission, by drawing up the financial statements, and so have I done since 1992.
MR WALLACE: Mr Commissioner, we have asked the auditor to try and investigate and see if he can furnish us with additional information which would be of assistance, we do know that likewise that is mis-described as a cheque deposit, that it was a money transfer, that he has managed to find out so far. He hasn't yet been able to find out its source or anything else, but once we have that information, we will obviously furnish it to you.
COMMISSIONER: Thank you. Are you going on to something else, Mr Wallace, perhaps I can take the adjournment a minute or two earlier, we will reconvene at two o'clock?
MR WALLACE: Yes, it is a convenient time to do so, thank you Mr Commissioner.
COMMISSION ADJOURNS AT 13H00
ON RESUMPTION AT 14H10
COMMISSIONER: Yes, Mr Wallace.
WESSELS JOHANNES CRONJE: (s.u.o.)
EXAMINATION BY MR WALLACE: (cont)
Thank you, Mr Commissioner, I'm sorry about the delay but we were handed a document at five to two, which we have never seen before. I wanted to have a look at it.
Mr Cronjé, can we move on a little bit to the matters you dealt with in paragraphs 22 - 33 of your statement, which was the events surrounding the Centurion Test? And if you don't mind if we could deal with some personal matters before raising that. We've had the benefit of Dr Lewis' evidence this morning, as you know. Could you, perhaps in your own words, tell the Commissioner, or try and describe for the Commissioner your mental state, as far as you could work it out, over the last couple of weeks while you've been preparing for this Commission, and when you were preparing the statement which was handed in on Thursday?
MR CRONJE: Well, obviously since the 7th of April I haven't been in a good frame of mind. It's been one of shame and humiliation, and one of real sorriness for what I have done. I haven't been proud of what I have done, and it's also been one of - I wouldn't call it hide, but trying to stay away from too much public attention, and I must admit that I have not been in a great mental frame of mind. And I have also had my ups and downs, so there had been times when I've really felt okay, and there's been times when I haven't felt so good.
MR WALLACE: There's just one further matter in relation to your relationship with Mr Aronstam. Is the position that on Friday there was a communication between your legal advisers and Mr Aronstam's legal advisers about one additional matter which isn't in your statement?
MR CRONJE: That is correct, yes. We missed out on a further amount that was not in the statement. That's correct.
MR WALLACE: Well, will you please amplify and supplement the statement and tell us about that?
MR CRONJE: After the Centurion test match, I struck up quite a good relationship - when I say 'relationship' it was one of phone every now and then. I would probably say since Centurion about 30 phone calls, 15 from me, 15 from Mr Aronstam, and in one of these conversations he asked me what I thought would be a good score in one of the matches. I gave him a more or less figure and it turned out that South Africa bowled Zimbabwe out more or less around that figure, and he gave me a sum of R3 000 for that, and I omitted to put that into my affidavit earlier.
The surrounding - or the areas where he gave me the money was also at the Sandton Sun. I know that for a fact, because I gave his son a signed shirt by the South African side. Exactly when and which match it was I'm not 100 percent sure as I've had quite a lot of conversations with Mr Aronstam since the Centurion fourth day.
MR WALLACE: You mention a match involving Zimbabwe. Does that assist you in possibly identifying to which match the information related?
MR CRONJE: Well, I stand to be corrected but I thought it was the first match, because that was the only time that I physically had contact with Mr Aronstam, was when we were in Johannesburg, and I think it was the first match where they got in the vicinity of 220, 210, 220 and we knocked the runs off quite comfortably for three wickets in hand and - or three wickets down, and I got Man of the Match in the game. I think that was the game that he's in fact talking about.
MR WALLACE: And why was that not in your statement originally?
MR CRONJE: It was a complete oversight from my side. When myself and Senior Counsel Dickerson was drawing up the affidavit was on a Thursday night last week, and I was not in a good state.
MR WALLACE: Well, it must have been earlier than Thursday night. Thursday was - it was Thursday the previous week, is it?
MR CRONJE: Yes, it was the previous Thursday when we drew up the statement.
MR WALLACE: Just in so far as those phone conversations are concerned, have they gone on until recently, or did they stop at a stage?
MR CRONJE: Ja, at no stage did I think there was anything wrong with the conversations that I had with Mr Aronstam, and I've spoken to him, as I say, on and on and off basis about cricket. I've later known that he was involved in horse racing and that he's got a passion for that. I know that he was in Dubai for the Dubai World Cup and he phoned me on a few occasions in India to wish myself and the team well, and to see how I was doing and how the team was doing and to give me what he thought his version was on how he thought the game would go. I didn't think there was any harm in speaking to Mr Aronstam.
MR WALLACE: Sorry, for those of us who aren't familiar with it, what is the Dubai World Cup?
MR CRONJE: The Dubai World Cup is a horse race that was on during the same time that the South African side was playing in the Sharjah Cup. I want to make it clear that I never saw Mr Aronstam during his visit to India or to Dubai.
MR WALLACE: Now Mr Cronjé, you've dealt in your statement and in your further evidence today with various incidents over a period from 1995 until the early part of this year, involving broadly questions of betting, payments for information, payments to effect the results of matches, match-fixing and the like. Are there any incidents during that period in which you have been involved, any incidents of that broad and general nature which are not dealt with in this statement and in the further evidence you've given?
MR CRONJE: Wherever I've been involved and whatever knowledge I have is in this affidavit.
MR WALLACE: Are you aware of any other incidents involving other South African players or officials of this nature, but in which you were not involved during that period?
MR CRONJE: Not that I'm aware of, no
COMMISSIONER: May I just, Mr Wallace, intervene just as a point of elucidation? You answered counsel, Mr Cronjé, by saying that you have no other knowledge other then that which is in your affidavit as it's now been supplemented in evidence. Were you speaking of the period that Mr Wallace mentioned, 1995 through to earlier this year or is that a - altogether, whenever?
MR CRONJE: Whenever ...(intervention)
COMMISSIONER: There's nothing more, you've told me all that there is that you are aware of ...(intervention)
MR CRONJE: Yes, that correct.
COMMISSIONER: ...involving match-fixing and related matters in which you were involved in one way or another?
MR CRONJE: That's correct.
COMMISSIONER: Thank you.
MR WALLACE: So that covers the whole of your cricketing life and experience?
MR CRONJE: That's correct.
MR WALLACE: Okay. And just for the sake of completeness because there is a concern about that, you've talked about your own involvement, you've talked about matters of which you have knowledge, is there any even rumour or something that you know of which might have a bearing on those types of matches or matters which you haven't dealt with? And I'm not asking you to give evidence of rumour, but is there anything of that sort, or that might fall within the purview not just of what this Commission is specifically considering, but that general area over the period you have been involved in as a professional cricketer?
MR CRONJE: I think it's true that whenever we tour the sub-continent we do get the odd occasion, like a person like Sunil who will come up to you and pass that remark, and I have joked about it in the team and spoken about it in the team, and I think it's come up at various times that we've spoken about it. But I cannot say with any definite sort of intentions that I know of anybody else that is involved, or anything that I know that will fall into the terms of reference of the Commission, or anything for that matter?
COMMISSIONER: Anything outside the terms of reference?
MR CRONJE: Yes, that's correct. It would be very wrong for me to say anything like that, because I don't have any proof or any heresy is really just dressing-room talk, and it's not something that - I think it's very, very dangerous to elaborate on.
MR WALLACE: You talk about particularly while in the sub-continent. As I understand it, betting on cricket matches is actually unlawful in India. How is this awareness of those sort of matters generated if it's actually an unlawful activity?
MR CRONJE: Mr Wallace, that I cannot answer to you because up until the 7th of April I was not aware that betting in the sub-continent on cricket matches is not allowed. I'm sorry that that is -
MR WALLACE: Is there a general awareness though that betting goes on about cricket, particularly in the sub-continent?
MR CRONJE: Well, I haven't physically seen anyone take money and go and buy a ticket and put money on a cricket match, I don't have any proof of that, but certainly the talk in the sub-continent is one of fanatics and people are, from what I can gather and from what I've heard, fanatical about their cricket and about - it's difficult to say 'betting', but forecasting about what is going to be the outcome of a match.
MR WALLACE: Thank you, Mr Cronjé. Thank you, Mr Commissioner.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR WALLACE
COMMISSIONER: Thank you, Mr Wallace. Mr Blumberg.
MR BLUMBERG: Thank you.
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR BLUMBERG: Mr Cronjé, you made your first statement, when I refer to it as a statement you've said - and there's been a lot of rumours in the Press - but it seems that the first statement you made was in the early hours of the 11th of April this year. Is that correct?
MR CRONJE: I take it that you are referring to my handwritten letter on the 11th of April in which I tried to deal with matters at that time of the morning, if that's correct?
MR BLUMBERG: Yes, I am referring to that statement. Now what did you intend to convey by producing that document at the time?
MR CRONJE: At the time I was trying to - from the 7th to the 11th of April I was really fighting within myself with this whole matter, and the fact that I have lied to the United Cricket Board. What I was trying to do in that letter was to try and say that, yes, I was involved and yes, I did accept some money, but no, none of the other players were involved, and what I was trying to say, I was at that time accused of being involved in trying to organise or fix the result of the one-day matches in India. And what I was trying to say in that letter was, I was trying to make peace with the United Cricket Board and try and explain to them in 7 pages as to what happened there, because in my mind it was four matches of really trying to spin these guys along, and the fifth match was an attempt, and even at the attempt, it didn't succeed, and it was the only time that I had spoken to anybody was in the last match.
Now that was untruthful in the letter as far as I did speak to Mr Gibbs and Mr Williams, as I've tried to rectify in a second affidavit - well, this affidavit, the first one was a letter. And I just wanted to make it clear that none of the players that were mentioned, people like Nicky Bojé and Pieter Strydom were in fact involved.
MR BLUMBERG: Doesn't it go further, the statement? Don't you suggest in your statement that your whole, let's call it dishonourable conduct, only started after the fifth test against England?
MR CRONJE: As far as I'm concerned, I was trying to deal with the five one-day internationals, of which I was accused of at the time.
MR BLUMBERG: So there was no attempt other than, you say, to cover for some of your players, to really tell the truth?
MR CRONJE: I was not only trying to cover for those players. I was also trying to cover for myself. I've said in this affidavit that yes, I didn't want them to say anything because in my opinion, and it still is my opinion now, was that even though we attempted to fix a match, the furthest we got was to get on to the field, and by the time we walked on to the field, pride took over and we didn't go through with it.
At no other stage during the one-day series did I speak to any other player, and the only time during the test matches that I made faint attempts, jokingly attempting to get players involved was Pieter Strydom and the three other players before the Bangalore test match, as they testified. I did not speak to any player during the one-day series, other than to Mr Gibbs and Mr Williams before the last one-day international.
MR BLUMBERG: Was this statement, or this letter that you wrote, whatever title you give it, not done in the spirit of coming clean, totally?
MR CRONJE: At the time it was trying to explain in 7 pages what exactly had happened. But in the same time, I realised it had gone so far in affecting other players and others careers, and I didn't want them to get hurt in the same way that I was getting hurt.
MR BLUMBERG: I'll repeat the question. It is then obviously not any attempt to come clean, totally?
MR CRONJE: No, it's an untruthful letter if that's what you want to hear.
MR BLUMBERG: It's not that I want to hear, Mr Cronjé, I'm just trying to get to the truth.
MR CRONJE: I'm sorry.
MR BLUMBERG: You say in this document that it started after the fifth test against England:
"On my way to the nets I was stopped by Hamid, a bloke who's been hanging around the team for a few years now, always handing out biltong for the guys in return for some tickets."
MR CRONJE: When I say 'started' at that stage I was accused of rigging the results of the one-day series between South African and Indian, as was reported in the Indian newspapers.
MR BLUMBERG: So that is why you chose to respond basically in this manner?
MR CRONJE: Yes.
MR BLUMBERG: You were hoping that it would end there, by giving this explanation?
MR CRONJE: Yes.
MR BLUMBERG: And in actual fact, this again dishonourable conduct, had been going on since 1995.
MR CRONJE: That's correct.
MR BLUMBERG: When did you decide, eventually, I think you claim now is to have told everything, decide to tell everything?
MR CRONJE: When I consulted with my legal people in Cape Town.
MR BLUMBERG: That must have been some time ago, when you started your consultation. I should imagine you sought legal advice pretty urgently.
MR CRONJE: I got legal advice via telephone on the first day with Mr Sackstein, and then only the following day did I consult with him, which will be April the 12th. But I was also untruthful to him.
MR BLUMBERG: Talking about Mr Sackstein initially?
MR CRONJE: That's correct.
MR BLUMBERG: Now when did you get to Cape Town to properly consult legally?
MR CRONJE: I think Mr Druker can help me there.
MR BLUMBERG: You don't have to be precise. I'm trying to get an approximate date, Mr Cronjé.
MR WALLACE: If it helps and if it's relevant, Mr Commissioner, it was Monday the 6th of June.
MR CRONJE: Thank you.
COMMISSIONER: Thank you. We don't need you to consult your fee book, Mr Druker.
MR BLUMBERG: Mr Cronjé, had you since the 11th of April until the 6th of June, made any disclosures to anybody else that there was more involved than you set out in your original document?
MR BLUMBERG: Mr Commissioner, before Mr Cronjé is asked to answer that question, it is phrased so widely that it encompasses the information he gave to his legal advisers, matters which are clearly covered by legal/professional privilege and the question must, at the very least, be qualified to make it clear to him that his answer should not and does not have to cover any matter of legal advice given or received. And information given to his legal advisers.
COMMISSIONER: Yes, well, you've heard what Mr Wallace has said Mr Cronjé. Mr Blumberg, rephrase the question please.
MR BLUMBERG: I will, Mr Commissioner, thank you. Mr Cronjé, you made a statement on the 11th of April, you said that you took proper legal advice for the first time in June. Is that correct?
MR CRONJE: No, that's not what I said.
MR BLUMBERG: Or proper legal consultation with your advisers in June.
MR CRONJE: No. That's not what I said.
MR BLUMBERG: Please refresh my memory as to what you said.
MR CRONJE: I said the first time that I properly sought legal advice was on the 12th of April.
MR BLUMBERG: Was that when you consulted first with attorneys, basically?
MR CRONJE: That was the first time that I met with Mr Sackstein.
MR BLUMBERG: Alright. Having consulted, and I'm not trying to delve into your privilege as to what you told your attorneys as such, because I would hope that what you've told your attorneys appears in this document that was handed in last week, to get a document of this content out takes a lot of time. Did you have drafts and re-drafts, and eventually settled on a version?
MR WALLACE: Mr Commissioner, this manifestly trespasses on the area of privilege. And with respect to my learned friend, I must ask that he refrains from asking questions in that regard.
COMMISSIONER: Sorry, I'm not sure that I follow your objection. He'd asked if the statement - if he redrafted it. Is there anything objectionable in that?
MR WALLACE: Yes. It concerns what was happening as between him and his lawyers in the conduct of the Commission. It's manifestly privileged, with respect, Mr Chairman.
COMMISSIONER: Surely the privilege extends to the content of the document.
MR WALLACE: And to the manner in which it was prepared and the advice surrounding the manner in which it was prepared, and everything else that were between him and his legal advisers.
COMMISSIONER: Do you have a response to that, Mr Blumberg?
MR BLUMBERG: I would believe, Sir, that that privilege, Sir, applies to the content and certainly not to the type of question I'm asking. But if you so wish, I'll reframe it in another way, and possibly put a proposition to Mr Cronjé.
COMMISSIONER: Yes. Put your question some other way.
MR BLUMBERG: Thank you. I want to put it to you that as information became available, you adjusted your version of events that you were going to disclose.
MR CRONJE: I spoke to Mr Gibbs up until the - about two weeks ago, and I tried to get him to cover up for himself, and myself, and for Henry Williams, if that's what you mean.
MR BLUMBERG: I mean other issues that were raised in the Press, newspaper reports as well. There was a lot of publicity, there was a lot of speculation, a whole lot of rumours.
MR CRONJE: I didn't follow the newspapers that much in the last 2 or 3 weeks. I've been trying to stay clear of that, and that's been the advice that was given to me by my immediate family, by my legal advisers and also by my medial guys. And as far as the media is concerned, I've learnt, with all due respects to them, that they do make the odd mistake, and that what I read in the media you cannot always go by as fact.
However, it is often helpful. I'll give you an example. On Sunday I read for the first time in a long time the Sunday Times, and in it was a statement by Mr Colin Bryden in which he said that, 'Mr Herschelle Gibbs and Mr Henry Williams have both admitted to accepting US$15 000 each.' Now if that is what you regard by rumours, yes, I hear the odd rumour. But that is what I think about what I read. I read it very carefully and you can't always just go by that, I'm sorry to say.
MR BLUMBERG: Had Herschelle Gibbs not so, to coin a phrase, spilt the beans, would you have admitted to this of your own accord?
MR CRONJE: I think it's fair to say that I was trying to cover up, and I was very close to getting Mr Gibbs in a position of perjury and trying to cover him up, and I only now realise that I was trying put him in a very difficult position. Yes, and I've said in my statement that I've asked Herschelle to forgive me for that because it was not a very kind thing to do.
MR BLUMBERG: I asked you would you, had Gibbs not spilt the beans, of your own accord revealed what happened between you, Gibbs and Williams?
MR CRONJE: I don't know. I cannot give you an answer on that. Probably not. If - I don't think so.
MR BLUMBERG: Mr Cronjé, I then assume that you were only encouraged basically, to come out with the truth when you realised that he spilt the beans.
MR CRONJE: That was when I consulted with my legal side again, and said to them that that is what in fact happened. Yes.
MR BLUMBERG: So this eventual confession as such that has now been handed in and that you read out last week, is the document that encompasses all, you believe, the wrong-doings that you were involved in?
MR CRONJE: That is correct.
MR BLUMBERG: Now in the compilation of these - or your memory recalls on a long period of time, did you consult with any of your players to try and adjust facts?
MR CRONJE: I have spoken to certain of the players since that time, yes.
MR BLUMBERG: And have you had any discussion with any Australian player in the past few weeks about these allegations?
MR CRONJE: No.
MR BLUMBERG: Have you seen any Australian test player in the past few weeks?
MR CRONJE: I've just seen a picture of Shane Warne and it was saying that he was talking dirty to some girl on the front.
MR BLUMBERG: Have you - were you aware the Steve Waugh was in South Africa?
MR CRONJE: No.
MR BLUMBERG: Not at all?
MR CRONJE: I know that Steve Waugh was in South Africa for the one-day triangular, that's all. For the one-day series, three match series, with South Africa, that's all.
MR BLUMBERG: You have in your statement referred to the incident which you say the Australian Cricket Board kept under wraps.
MR CRONJE: I didn't say that.
MR BLUMBERG: Well, you - that was the perception you gave, that they kept it quiet.
MR CRONJE: I didn't say they kept it quiet and I didn't give that impression. I'm sorry if that is the case.
MR BLUMBERG: Well, I seemed to get that impression. That's what you said today.
MR CRONJE: I said that in 1994 I became aware of what mr Kepler Wessels told me about rumours that was going on about the '94 tour to the sub-continent. I never said that the Australian Cricket Board tried to cover it up, or that it was handled in any other matter. I did not say that.
MR BLUMBERG: I'm talking about the Mark Waugh, Shane Warne - the fines that were imposed upon them by the Australian Cricket Board.
MR CRONJE: I have not mentioned any fines. All I said was that there was a meeting, and all I read was the report that came out of Pakistan, where Mr Waugh and Mr Warne and I think Mark Taylor, went to testify in front of a Pakistan judge. I didn't say that the Australian Cricket Board was trying to cover up, and I hope that's not the impression I gave.
MR BLUMBERG: You likened the description of John as possibly the same person that Waugh and Warne mention in their testimony.
MR CRONJE: I haven't seen their testimony. All I said was the reason why I think it's the same man, it was because it was against the same opponents, it was against - it was more-or-less the same time-frame and it was the same name. I have not seen their description of this man.
MR BLUMBERG: Did they use the name John as well?
MR CRONJE: I believe so.
MR BLUMBERG: Where did you get that information?
MR CRONJE: I read that in the Pakistan report of the judge. I think it was on the internet.
MR BLUMBERG: So you did keep abreast of the so-called irregularities in world cricket?
MR CRONJE: Yesterday I read through the internet statements that was available in our office because I was trying to pass the time. The other time was when I really was just hearing about it in, the newspapers and seeing it on television, whatever was happening, yes, if that's what you mean.
MR BLUMBERG: As I understand your evidence, you first became aware, let's say with some degree of certainty, that there was dishonesty in cricket in 1994 when Kepler Wessels told you that he was aware of certain approaches made to Australians.
MR CRONJE: I said it was some time after 1994. I wasn't exactly sure when, but Kepler Wessels had told me that he was in fact at the same table when this apparent approach was made. I didn't say the Kepler Wessels told me in 1994. I said that after 1994, at some stage, Kepler Wessels had told me that he was part of - not part of, he was sitting at the same table when this apparent approach must have been made. And I also said that in the final game of the 1994 tour to Pakistan we had joked about it 'cause we thought that the Pakistan side was trying to throw the wickets away. But in fact, Ijaz Ahmed walked in and scored 98 off about 80 balls. That's what I said.
MR BLUMBERG: Paragraph 14 of your statement, I'll read it:
"During our tour in Pakistan in 1994 Kepler Wessels told me that he knew of offers which had been made to Australian cricketers, I do not know whom, to lose a match in Karachi."
MR CRONJE: Yeah, sure. I was referring to the 1994 tour and Kepler Wessels told me, yes.
MR BLUMBERG: So what I'm getting at is as early as 1994 you had, let's say from a reliable source, become aware that there was dishonesty in world cricket.
MR CRONJE: Once again, I'm trying to make myself clear that I'm referring to the 1994 tour. The person that told me and in the media was Kepler Wessels. I said I'm not exactly 100% sure of when he told me, but it was about the 1994 tour to Pakistan and I specifically know that it was the Karachi test match because in subsequent conversations I heard that people - not people, South Africans and Australians were talking about Shane Warne and Mark Waugh, Tim May, who had been given an approach by Salim Malik to play badly in the last match of the - last day of the Karachi test match.
MR BLUMBERG: Let me ask it to you this way. When did you first become aware of dishonesty in world cricket?
MR CRONJE: Well, if Dennis Lilley and Rodney Marsh were dishonest, then that was the first time that I've heard about dishonesty in world cricket.
MR BLUMBERG: If my memory serves me correctly, they bet on a game.
MR CRONJE: They bet on the opposition winning, yes.
MR BLUMBERG: Okay. Well, let's say - I'm talking now of something more serious, match fixing.
MR CRONJE: Well, the first time that I became aware of match fixing was when the Waugh/Warne, Salim Malik episode first reached the Press, and the conversations that I had with my former Captain, Kepler Wessels.
MR BLUMBERG: What did you feel when you heard about this taking place in the game that I assume you really loved and played with a great passion on behalf of your country? How did you react to this knowledge that this was happening to this game?
MR CRONJE: As I said earlier today, I'm not proud of it and it shook me really hard and I wish back to when I had the first approach, that I listened to myself and took it seriously, but I didn't. The one way of trying to rationalise it was that I was just taking money from somebody for not really giving anything in return. There were times when I was getting money just for information. There were other times when I took money and pretended that I was playing along. And then there was obviously the last match in India this year, where I went so far as to speak to two players to try and get them to fix a match as well.
MR BLUMBERG: I don't think you're answering my question. What I basically want is your feel, your reaction to the first knowledge about dishonesty in this game of cricket.
MR CRONJE: The first knowledge was when the Waugh/Warne/Malik saga first broke in the newspapers, I think.
MR BLUMBERG: What was your reaction? Were you horrified? Did you approve of it? Did you support it? Were you against it? What was your reaction?
MR CRONJE: My reaction was that I was against it and I felt it was wrong, and I didn't think that a South African player would get involved in it.
MR BLUMBERG: Do you feel it was good enough for any cricket, other than South African, to get involved in it?
MR CRONJE: No.
MR BLUMBERG: Now would you have liked to seen it removed, this illness removed from world cricket?
MR CRONJE: I definitely would like to see it removed. I've had a tough two-and-a-half months since it came out, and I must admit that since speaking to John the first time there were times that I really felt that I wasn't worth my place in the side and that it's wrong and I was letting my country down. But the times that I accepted these monies and bribes, if anything it affected me sub-consciously but not consciously, because I gave my all in all of the matches that I played for South Africa. That I can tell you straight. If it affected me, it affected me sub-consciously.
MR BLUMBERG: Did you not perhaps harbour the thought that, 'If I am approached, I am going to reveal or take counsel with my Board to report the first approach that is ever made to me'?
MR CRONJE: That would have been the right way to do it. I wish I did that in 1995.
MR BLUMBERG: So you concede basically you never did think of that.
MR CRONJE: No, I should have done that straight away in 1995, but I didn't.
MR BLUMBERG: Yes, it's a small community, the international cricket world, country-wise compared to other sports, and a very close-knit community, and the Captaincy is a very cherished position, wasn't that a total lack of responsibility to that position?
MR CRONJE: It was, and as I've said to you before, I somehow rationalised it by accepting money for not giving anything in return. I fully and unreservedly - I cannot tell you the huge shame that it caused me, the great passion I have for my country, the great passion I have for my team mates and the unfortunate love I have for money. I do like money, I'm not trying to get away from that. But I can promise you every time I walked on the field, I gave everything for my country. Yes, I accepted money from bookmakers, yes I was trying to feed them information, yes I spoke to the players before the match in 1996, but I promise you, every time I walked on to the field, I gave my all for South Africa.
MR BLUMBERG: Mr Cronjé, have you - are you satisfied in your mind that you have, as you sit here today disclosed everything that you know about the matches you participated in, the discussions that you had with - have you disclosed everything?
MR CRONJE: Yes.
MR BLUMBERG: And when you say that certain offers that were made you refused to accept, that you did refuse to accept those offers but might not have, in fact, taken the money?
MR CRONJE: Yes, I did refuse.
MR BLUMBERG: Now after becoming aware of this approach, and I'm going back now to my other client, Mr Aronstam, they conversation during the Centurion test match, you - it seems that you're pretty accessible, you're pretty easy to get hold of.
MR CRONJE: Our cellphone number is public property. Anyone can get that.
MR BLUMBERG: Numbers are given out, I believe, even by your Unions of people's cellphone numbers.
MR CRONJE: That's correct.
MR BLUMBERG: Is that the Union policy that one should be so accessible to the public?
MR CRONJE: The policy of the Union and the policy of the United Cricket Board is total transparency, even our salaries are printed in the newspapers and even in this report, and if you want to get hold of a player all you have to do then is tell them that you're a member of the Press, and they'll give it to you straight away. I even get mail forwarded from any source around the world. Ja, so it is policy from the United Cricket Board and from, as far as I know, Free State Cricket Board, to pass out your cellphone number, yes.
MR BLUMBERG: So you're then not surprised then when any particular person gives you a call and introduces himself to you?
MR CRONJE: No.
MR BLUMBERG: Now that call from Mr Aronstam came on the night of the fourth day of that test match. Is that correct?
MR CRONJE: Somewhere in the late afternoon of the fourth day, yes.
MR BLUMBERG: And you say that there were two discussion on the phone that night, or one?
MR CRONJE: As I recall it, Mr Aronstam first called me, spoke for a while. I think he felt uncomfortable to speak on the telephone and he wanted to come to the hotel. I told him that - I think told him that I would give him a call, or that we should meet at about 9 o'clock. I know that I called him back to say to him that I'm still having dinner and I'll be late. He phoned me again a little bit later to say to me that he's coming round to the hotel a little bit later because of my engagement that I had with friends of mine downstairs. So he came back later. So I would say in all, if my memory serves me correct, there should have been three phone calls.
MR BLUMBERG: Eventually, he met you, and you went to your room and there was a discussion.
MR CRONJE: Yes, he met me at the Sandton Sun in my room, yes.
MR BLUMBERG: Now in paragraph 27 of your statement you say that:
"Marlon revealed that he was involved with NSI, a listed company."
Are you saying that that night he told you he was involved with NSI?
MR CRONJE: I'm not 100% sure if it was that night, but he told me he was involved with a listed company. Whether it was that night that he actually mentioned the word NSI, or was in fact only later, that I cannot say for 100% sure. I stand to be corrected on that. I know in subsequent discussions he told me that he was with NSI. Whether in fact it was that night that he told me NSI, or whether he just said a listed company, but I know for a fact that he mentioned NSI at some stage, because when I consulted with Senior Advocate Wallace the first time, I mentioned NSI and we checked it up and saw that it was a sports betting company.
MR BLUMBERG: You wouldn't dispute then his version that at - it was only at a much later stage that you might have become aware that he had been involved with NSI.
MR CRONJE: That could be true.
MR BLUMBERG: And you would not dispute that he was approaching you basically in his personal capacity that night?
MR CRONJE: Well, he wasn't approaching me on behalf of NSI, that's for sure. I think it was in a personal capacity, yes.
MR BLUMBERG: Now I've consulted with him, he's a knowledgeable man on the game of cricket, isn't he?
MR CRONJE: I think I mention that in my affidavit. It looks like he studied the game from a young age.
MR BLUMBERG: And he was pretty honest and even critical of you in your discussion.
MR CRONJE: Ja, he was straightforward. He said to me that my image was very low at the time. He told me that the publics perception of me was that I was very dull as a Captain, I was boring, I never took any chances. I think he was referring to the Port Elizabeth test match where probably we could have batted a little bit faster, put some pressure on England by bowling on the fourth night. And also at the time I had a particular bad run of runs, I didn't score that many runs. So he was having a go - not a go at me, but he was saying to me that, 'Listen, my mate, your public image at the moment is very low.'
MR BLUMBERG: He even suggested you were negative in your Captaincy.
MR CRONJE: Yes, he did.
MR BLUMBERG: Now until he phoned you, had you had any thoughts of this possible forfeiture of innings/declaration situation?
MR CRONJE: The only thoughts that I had was after a discussion with the Match Referee, with the Umpires, with Dr Bacher, and I think I stand to be corrected, that Richard Harrison from Northerns Cricket Board was also there. They wanted us to try and speed up proceedings by trying to get on the field as quick as we possibly could, by trying to give the public something back. And I in particular felt very sad for the Northerns Cricket Board because they also had a wash-out against England in 1996, I think if it was correct, and in my opinion on the fourth day the ground really was in shape to play. Discussions were held with Dr Bacher and one of his suggestions was to maybe turn it into a one-day game. We then said maybe it's a problem because of the clash of sponsorships. I'm not aware of whether we spoke about forfeit/forfeit. I think it might have been mentioned, but I stand to be corrected.
MR BLUMBERG: He, I understand, got the impression that you had not considered that point, and that's why he volunteered that as a suggestion.
MR CRONJE: That may well be so. I certainly until after that test match, when somebody actually told me that, I don't think it was ever done in a test match before.
MR BLUMBERG: It had happened often in English country cricket. Obviously of course, with the weather conditions there it does happen often.
MR CRONJE: It's happened in South Africa as well in certain matches, yes.
MR BLUMBERG: Right. So you thought it was a good suggestion, afterward - he basically I think he will tell this inquiry that he said to you that you will be in a no-lose situation. If you win the test or you lose the test, you will be a hero in the eyes of the public for creating a game out of nothing.
MR CRONJE: At no stage did I get the impression that Mr Aronstam wanted me to lose the game. He wanted us to go out there and set England a target. He didn't say what target, he probably could have mentioned a figure. I tried - when he left, tried to work out a figure. In my mind I had 270 in mind. I was thinking back to the test match at Eden Park against New Zealand, where we set them around 265-odd and we may even have referred back to that match, I'm not 100% sure. But certainly it was never apparent to me from the discussions with Mr Aronstam that he wanted us to lose the game, and he never asked me to contrive a result. All he wanted me to do was to entertain the public. That is what the impression that I got. Whether he wanted to be on the game, or something like that, I wouldn't know.
MR BLUMBERG: You misunderstand me. I never said he tried to suggest that you should lose. What he said was, 'If you do make these declarations, you're in a no-lose situation. Whether South Africa wins or England wins the game, cricket will be the winner and you will be the hero.'
MR CRONJE: He may have said that. I can't remember. He was basically trying to improve my public image by suggesting this to me.
COMMISSIONER: Yes also, I think Mr Cronjé as I understand it, Mr Aronstam's interest was in getting a result. From a game where three of the four days had been washed out, and in the ordinary course of things, there would never have been a result unless it was an orchestrated or a contrived result. But I get the impression that that's what he was wanting.
MR CRONJE: I'm not 100% sure whether that is in fact what he wanted. You know, if you set somebody 270 in less than 3 sessions, there's a very good chance that there can still be a draw, and with 8 balls to go - excuse me, with 7 balls to go and 8 runs required, there could have been one of four different results. We could have won, England could have won, there could have been a tie or it could have been a drawn. So at no stage do I think that he suggested to me that there must be a result.
COMMISSIONER: Perhaps you misunderstand me. Forgive me, Mr Blumberg. I am not suggesting that he wanted a particular result. A win for South Africa, or a win for England, or a draw or a tie. I'm suggesting that what was on his mind, perhaps he'll come and tell me that in due course, was that here was a game which inevitably, unless some device was resorted to, was going to produce no result at all, and now this was a way of getting a result to this test match.
MR WALLACE: Mr Commissioner, I'm sorry to intervene, but there may be some confusion with the witness. A drawn - as I understand it, a draw at the end of five days, even if most of it's been rain and miserable, is still a result. And there may be some confusion arising from the way you're putting the question to him. I'm just trying to be of assistance.
COMMISSIONER: No, you've misunderstood me, Mr Wallace. Perhaps I'm not making myself clear to either of you. I'm looking at it from the point of view of somebody, and I'm not suggesting this of Mr Aronstam, of a person who wants to go along and take or lay a bet. The winning bet in those circumstances to be, there's going to be a result to this game. It isn't just going to be washed away so to speak. Not the type of result.
You come along to me on that last day and you say, 'Here's this game where the first innings of the game is not even completed, and there's one day.' Now in the ordinary course, it would have just been a wash-out, nothing more would have happened. And if somebody came along to me and said, 'You know, there's going to be a result in that game', I might have been tempted to have a bet on it.
MR CRONJE: As far as my memory serves me, Sir, you've got to forgive me, but as far as I can remember he wanted to see action on the field, he wanted to open the game and get it going and let the public have something, and that's what I got in return, was to be able to say to the public, 'Here's Hansie Cronjé. You always say I'm negative. I'm giving you something in return, to watch a proper game of cricket.' That's as far as I can remember.
COMMISSIONER: Alright, thankyou.
MR BLUMBERG: Thank you, Mr Commissioner. Mr Cronjé, you hit the nail right on the head. That's all he wanted.
MR CRONJE: That's all I wanted.
MR BLUMBERG: That's all Mr Aronstam wanted.
MR CRONJE: I think so, ja.
COMMISSIONER: I didn't catch that. What was all Mr Aronstam wanted?
MR BLUMBERG: A game of cricket, Sir. He'd interviewed members of the balmy-army who travel the world watching English cricket, and he'd seen them earlier in that day and they said they'd been twice to Pretoria to watch test matches and they'd only seen rain. And that got him thinking and that's why he contacted you. You'll agree with that, that that was the spirit in which he was telling you to make that declaration?
MR CRONJE: Yes, it was. And just to correct Mr Commissioner as well, that most declarations is in order to try and get a result. Forfeit/forfeit is obviously something that's different and needs both Captains to agree and Mr Aronstam basically just wanted me to try and get - to liven the game up for the public. Yes, if that's what you're trying to say.
MR BLUMBERG: I agree with you. That is exactly what he wanted to do. I just want to rectify also another situation with regard to his so-called donation to charity. Firstly, he disagrees, and it's a memory situation, with the amount that he offered to give to a charity. He says it was either R200 000 or R250 000. Is it possible ...(intervention)
MR CRONJE: It was a large sum of money. My memory says 500 000, but it was a large sum of money. And as I say, it never came up again in subsequent conversations.
MR BLUMBERG: There again I would like to possibly jog your memory. When in fact he got to your room and saw you one-on-one, he'd already established that there was no further betting being taken on this game, and he made it clear that that offer to pay to charity is no longer open.
MR CRONJE: I got a skrik when all of this hit the media and after the 7th of April, and obviously I was concerned about Centurion Park test match, that people might think about that, and I'm absolutely clear in my mind that there was no ways, that whatever information I gave, whatever decisions I made could help or influence anything, and it wasn't done in a manner of trying to get somebody to put money on a game.
MR BLUMBERG: As far as Mr Aronstam saw it, and I think you agree, it was a wonderful game of cricket and there was nothing strange or fixed about that result. The English won on merit. Is that correct?
MR CRONJE: Ja. I've gone as far, and I'll probably pick up flack from the English media for it, but in my cricketing opinion, which at this stage is not sought after very highly I think around the world, is that if Paul Adams hadn't have got injured we would have stood a very, very good chance of winning that, and I felt that the public saw a very good game of cricket. And afterwards, on the field, the Northerns Titan President, one of the South African selectors, the former President of The South African Cricket Board, or United Cricket Board of South Africa and Dr Ali Bacher personally congratulated me for what turned out to be a great game of cricket, yes.
MR BLUMBERG: Yes, but in the circumstances, they won on merit.
MR CRONJE: For sure. Nobody tried to influence the result, nobody gave them extra runs, nothing or anything like that.
MR BLUMBERG: Far be it for either of us to take away the glory of an English test victory. It doesn't happen very often. Anyway, it did receive good publicity, and I think you - your - you got good publicity from that. Okay?
MR CRONJE: Ja, I was pretty happy with the publicity that I got after that. My team mates weren't happy with me after that and it was obviously difficult to try and convince them, but I think sitting at the dressing room afterwards Daryll Cullinan came up to me and he said, listen, he was initially upset with me, but when he saw how close a game it was, Mark Boucher came up to me and he said the same, and I think at tea time they realised that we have a very, very good chance of actually winning the game. So initially they were a little bit upset, but my team mates have always been, or my former team mates, have always been very lazy when it comes to fielding, especially in cold conditions and especially in matches where they would have had their feet up. And I think in particular Lance Klusener and Mark Boucher were a little bit upset because they obviously wanted to get bigger scores in that test match.
MR BLUMBERG: I think, in fact, you were made Man of the Match for your decision. Weren't you?
MR CRONJE: I don't think that's true. I don't know who won the Man of the Match in that test match.
MR BLUMBERG: Anyway, you believed that you were going to get a gift from him.
MR CRONJE: Well, as I said in my affidavit, he said an un specified gift. I mean, if he came to me afterwards and shook my hand and said, 'Listen, let's go out for a meal downstairs to Villa Mora (?)', I would have accepted that as that gift. The fact that he gave me two amounts of money, that was grand. I was happy about that and if it was only the 30 000 first up, it would have been great. If it was only the second amount, also great. And if it was only the leather jacket it was also great. I wasn't expecting any more than just - he said an - or I said an unspecified gift. he didn't mention a gift of any nature. I was suspecting it might have been money of some sort, but as I say, from a publicity point of view, from a cricket spectacle point of view, I was happy with the way things turned out.
MR BLUMBERG: The money that he paid you, the R50 000 in two payments. Did you consider that as payment for the Centurion test match? Bearing in mind that he didn't gamble on that test.
MR CRONJE: I've asked him what it was for and he said to me that it was for future information. I wasn't in fact sure what it was for. I mean, whether he was trying to buy a friendship, whether he was trying to pay me for the shirt that I gave him later, or what it was. I mean, that is for Mr Aronstam to answer. As I understood it, I was going to get a gift and if he gave me for the Centurion test, whether it's for future information or whether it was for friendship, as I understood it he was going to give me a gift, and as I understood it, that was for the Centurion test match.
MR BLUMBERG: He will tell the Commission that that money was given to you for pitch reports for the forthcoming one-day series.
MR CRONJE: I thought that was what the R3 000 was for. I thought the 3 000 was for information that I might give him that might be helpful to him. The 50 000 he gave to me could have been for future friendship, could have been for a future relationship with him. I don't know, it could have been for the Centurion test match. As I say, he didn't specify, 'This is what you did in Centurion', because it was in some many amounts. It added up to R53 000.
MR BLUMBERG: At that stage there was still - I think, there was - it's a triangular tournament, there was possibly nine round-robin games involved, weren't there?
MR CRONJE: We played 6 matches and the final, yes. And I think England played Zimbabwe three times, ja.
MR BLUMBERG: As I say, he will say that there were a lot of games to come and that was his fee basically to you, paying you your fee for giving him pitch reports, which you subsequently did.
MR CRONJE: Yes, that's right. I kept in touch with Marlin via cellphone and also by SMS's, and he would say to me, 'Hansie, you're in East London, what does it look like? Is the weather okay? What does the pitch look like?', and I would say to him that this is what it looks like and that's what the weather looks like, ja.
MR BLUMBERG: He will further tell the Commission that you did regularly send him SMS messages.
MR CRONJE: Yes, I did send him SMS messages, and I also spoke to him on various occasions, ja.
MR BLUMBERG: And he will also tell the Commission that your one particular pitch forecast was exceptionally good. And that was the bonus of the R3 000 he gave you.
MR CRONJE: It could be. As I say, you know, I also gave him, in Bloemfontein for argument's sake, I sent through an SMS which said that I think 270 might be a good score and we got bowled out for 160. One of my friends in the media once asked me, and I'm not going to name his name, Mr Commissioner, once asked me whether I thought - what is a good score at Centurion Park in a one-day game, and I said to him, 'Well, at least 500 runs between the two sides', as it happened, we bowled Pakistan out for 130. So I don't see anything wrong with speaking to anyone about the pitch and the weather and the conditions or anything like that. I can't see how I can influence the game in that way at all.
MR BLUMBERG: I'm not suggesting that you're influenced the game in any way, but I agree with you the pitch reports are public knowledge. It's become the habit that before every one-day international there's pitch report by experts for a game starts, isn't there?
MR CRONJE: Well, 90% of the time they're more accurate than the Captain, yes.
MR BLUMBERG: Anyway, in addition to the R3 000 he did give you a leather jacket, is that correct?
MR CRONJE: That is correct. A black leather jacket for my wife, yes.
MR BLUMBERG: For your wife. It was Valentine's Day, I think, the next day.
MR BLUMBERG: Jeez, now you tell me. (laughs) Could have scored a lot of points. (general laughter)
MR BLUMBERG: He gave you the opportunity of scoring points, because in actual fact, I don't want to detract from the situation, he actually bought it for his wife and it didn't fit. And he gave it to you to give to your wife.
MR CRONJE: Well, it won't fit my wife at the moment. She's lost 6-kgs after her husband's called all this trouble.
MR BLUMBERG: Your relationship was good with Aronstam as a result of the Pretoria game, and you spoke to him, as you say, often.
MR CRONJE: Ja, I think he's a nice guy. I don't see any harm in him. He's never asked me to do anything that would harm me, no.
MR BLUMBERG: He never, ever suggested any contrived result, did he?
MR CRONJE: Not at all, no.
MR BLUMBERG: And it was merely a situation of either getting pitch reports or actually discussing cricket in general and possible tactics with you.
MR CRONJE: Ja, I'll give you an example. During the first test match in India in Mumbai, he phoned through a couple of times and told me this and this is what he thinks, and this is a good idea, and he thinks that they're dead, and we've got them, and, 'Make sure they don't get above this', and, 'We'll kill them off', and this and that. Ja, for sure.
MR BLUMBERG: I think at one stage he even suggested the reintroduction of the so-called pinch-hitter into one-day internationals, and suggested maybe you should put Boucher up the order one day.
MR CRONJE: I think he may have suggested a lot of things, ja. There's a lot of people that talk to me as Captain - or used to talk to me quite a lot and give me suggestions, and he was one of them, yes.
MR BLUMBERG: And absolutely nothing untoward in any of the suggestions he made to you over the period that you have known him.
MR CRONJE: Not at all.
MR BLUMBERG: And after those payments, which we've gone through now, he has never offered you any more money.
MR CRONJE: The first time when I met Mr Aronstam was the fourth night - fourth evening or late afternoon of the Centurion test match. Since then I've spoken to him, and as you say, have given him a few SMS messages, and that's been our relationship, and the only gain that I've got out of him is R53 000 and a leather jacket for my wife. And the only gain that he's got out of me was sometimes accurate, sometimes not so accurate pitch reports, and also a signed shirt for his boy.
MR BLUMBERG: Yes, he considers the signed shirt as his present for the Centurion advice, as he calls it.
MR CRONJE: Ja. Thank you.
MR BLUMBERG: Did you ever suggest to Mr Aronstam that you could throw a cricket game?
MR CRONJE: I said to him that the only way that you can actually make money on a cricket game, my opinion, is that you've got to have people in the side to cooperate.
MR BLUMBERG: It's easier to contrive a defeat than it is to contrive a victory.
MR CRONJE: Ja.
MR BLUMBERG: And that discussion, did that take place the first night he met you?
MR CRONJE: Not that I can remember, no.
MR BLUMBERG: His recall was that that sort of discussion did take place that first night.
MR CRONJE: It may have done. I've said that I wasn't sure.
MR BLUMBERG: But you didn't pertinently offer or say to him, 'I can throw a test match'? Or a one-day - not a test match, a one-dayer?
MR CRONJE: I said to him that if I said to him that we would lose a game, you've got to have people no your side. There's no ways that you can actually lose a match unless you have people on your side. If that is the thing that you're asking me, is that if in case you want to contrive a result you've got to have people on your side, ja. Whether I'd spoken about it to Mr Aronstam or not, that I can't tell you.
MR BLUMBERG: Was it perhaps mention or a query by your part as a discussion as how to make money out of cricket?
MR CRONJE: I think the only way to make money out of cricket was that if you lose a match and if you load money on your opposition. In my opinion, that's the only way. I mean, unless you take a gamble on how many runs is going to be scored in a game.
MR BLUMBERG: At that first meeting in your hotel room, wasn't the suggestion made and he basically said, 'Well, the ball's in your court', about making money out of cricket?
MR CRONJE: It may have been. I'm not going to stand against that.
MR BLUMBERG: When did your communication with Marlin end, because it seemed to end quite suddenly?
MR CRONJE: It ended a couple of weeks ago.
MR BLUMBERG: I'm talking about relative to the period that you were still playing cricket. You went to India and you spoke to him while you were in India.
MR CRONJE: Ja, he said to me that he was going to be in India, and I think our last conversation before the news broke was in India. I think it was on the - it could have been just after the second test match, whilst we were in India, yes. And then I didn't speak to him again until I got back to South Africa.
MR BLUMBERG: He will tell the Commission that he got the feel that you had basically gone cold, and you weren't going to furnish him with any more information.
MR CRONJE: He never contacted me again after the second test match in India.
MR BLUMBERG: Alright, that brings me to my other client that I represent of course. At that stage in India you were having dealings with Mr Sanjay.
MR CRONJE: That's correct.
MR BLUMBERG: Now let's start on that relationship and Mr Cassim. Now you've referred to Mr Cassim as a 'bloke' that used to hang around.
MR CRONJE: Yes, Mr Cassim was a, if you want to call it, a hang-around. He was somebody that was always very friendly with the team. Since I can remember playing test cricket at the Wanderers, Hamid would be in and around the Wanderers dressing room, in and out of the hotel offering biltong, very kindly sending it to us on away trips and often asking for the odd ticket. I stand to be corrected, but I think I may have had dinner with Mr Cassim on an occasion with certain administrators in the South African side. I may be corrected, but that's my recollection.
MR BLUMBERG: Well, my instructions from Mr Cassim in regard to his relationship with the players, I would say that to be described as the person who hung around the dressing room is quite derogatory. He actually became friends with many of the players. Are you aware of that?
MR CRONJE: Ja. Often what happens is that a lot of people, because you have contact with them, regard themselves as your friends. I speak to more than 50 or 60 people every day on the mobile phone and on the hotel phone, and they would regard themselves as friends, whereas I would regard them as acquaintances, or kennis, as I said before. Hamid in my opinion would be somebody that, mainly when you play in Johannesburg, would give you a call more time than not, but as for his relationship with other members in the team, that I won't know about.
MR BLUMBERG: Now to amplify that particular meeting that day at the Wanderers, that was shortly after the fifth test at Centurion, I think your team was practising for the up-and-coming one-day international series. Is that correct?
MR CRONJE: That is correct.
MR BLUMBERG: And that's where the remark was made by him. And you used to communicate in Afrikaans with Hamid, didn't you?
MR CRONJE: That's correct.
MR BLUMBERG: And even your phone calls to each other are in Afrikaans.
MR CRONJE: That's correct.
MR BLUMBERG: Or what he said basically was, 'Gee, why didn't you tell me that you were going to declare, I could have made some money', is that so?
MR CRONJE: That's correct.
MR BLUMBERG: Now he will tell that he knows nothing about gambling. It was a joke when he said that, because he was as surprised as anyone else was by that declaration.
MR CRONJE: It could have been, ja.
MR BLUMBERG: And I think when he made that remark he was actually in the company of an actress from India, whom he introduced to you.
MR CRONJE: That's correct.
MR BLUMBERG: Certainly, one wouldn't talk about elicit gambling in front of somebody like that, would one?
MR CRONJE: No.
MR BLUMBERG: And thereafter, before he introduced you to Sanjay which we'll come to that, did you see him again?
MR CRONJE: No.
MR BLUMBERG: Right. Now your first match was in Durban, wasn't it?
MR CRONJE: No, the first match was the one which we were practising for in Johannesburg.
MR BLUMBERG: Was it at the Wanderers? Thereafter there was a test match in Durban.
MR CRONJE: No. There was first a match in Bloemfontein and then there was one in Cape Town. So the one in Durban was the fourth one from a South African point of view.
MR BLUMBERG: From a South African point of view. And you were staying at the Beverley Hills?
MR CRONJE: That's right.
MR BLUMBERG: Now in your statement you say that you came back from practise and Cassim was at the hotel.
MR CRONJE: That's correct.
MR BLUMBERG: He did - he will confirm that he flew up to Durban unexpectedly, he didn't contact anyone to say that he was coming, which would confirm that you first saw him when you came back from practise.
MR CRONJE: Probably, ja.
MR BLUMBERG: Are you aware that he's in contact with a number of the players in the team?
MR CRONJE: In the South African team?
MR BLUMBERG: Yes.
MR CRONJE: Yes, that's my understanding.
MR BLUMBERG: Now on that particular day he hadn't contacted anybody, he actually came up at a last minute decision, and actually asked you if he could see you and wanted to introduce you to someone.
MR CRONJE: That's correct as I understand it, yes.
MR BLUMBERG: Now you eventually came to - the meeting didn't take place in your room, did it?
MR CRONJE: That's correct.
MR BLUMBERG: It took place in Sanjay's room?
MR CRONJE: That's correct.
MR BLUMBERG: Now what I'm particularly interested in is the participation of Hamid Cassim in the conversation between you and Sanjay.
MR CRONJE: He was really a go-between, and he was the one that introduce me to Sanjay.
MR BLUMBERG: There was I think, if his memory serves him correctly, one of the local one-day matches on the television that day. One of the Standard Bank series matches was on.
MR CRONJE: It could have been the match between India - I mean England and Zimbabwe, but I'm not 100% sure.
MR BLUMBERG: And he will tell this Commission that his attention was more on the television set than the actual conversation that was being conducted between yourself and Sanjay.
MR CRONJE: I think he was aware of what was said between Sanjay and myself, ja. I'm not 100% sure whether he participated. Sanjay was the one that was more interested in the gambling side.
MR BLUMBERG: Did he - I'm talking active participation, any suggestions were not forthcoming from Cassim. They all came from Sanjay.
MR CRONJE: That's correct.
MR BLUMBERG: And it was a meeting that didn't last very long. About 10 minutes.
MR CRONJE: I think that's a fair assumption, ja.
MR BLUMBERG: And he did see Sanjay hand you a packet.
MR CRONJE: Yes.
MR BLUMBERG: There was never a mention of any amount of money in the room. Could you confirm that?
MR CRONJE: No.
MR BLUMBERG: And you also confirm that Sanjay was talking primarily again about pitch reports, possible team selections and that type of information.
MR CRONJE: Sanjay originally wanted some information which could be helpful for the matches in South Africa. He also passed on a specific interest in the match against Zimbabwe at Durban, which he wanted us to try and get a negative result in his favour in trying to get him to make some money, which I said to him is no go, unless we are assured of a place in the final I will not at all play ball. And then Sanjay just wanted information from me, and he said that, 'Well, if you have a change of mind', in other words, if South Africa does qualify for the final, will you have a change of mind, and I suggested to him that I will, yes. But the only time that it was mentioned that we would be interested in - or I would be interested in playing ball with Sanjay from the point of view of loosing a match would be once we've qualified for the final. In that I meant that maybe some of the reserves could play, or it can happen that if you want a particular opponent in the final then you might want to try and get somebody into the final so that it's a lesser opponent for that matter. But I certainly never suggested to him that we would lose that particular game or a game in the future. I merely suggested to him that here may be that possibility.
MR BLUMBERG: Now you express in your statement, on page 14, paragraph 41:
"It was not initially my intention to throw any games or fix results. Driven by greed and stupidity and the lure of easy money I thought I could feed Sanjay information and keep the money without having to do anything to influence matches."
Is that correct?
MR CRONJE: That is correct.
MR BLUMBERG: So this would be continuing in the same conduct as you had with the previous people, of taking money and not doing anything in return for it, and that satisfied your conscience to a certain degree?
MR CRONJE: Yes.
MR BLUMBERG: Now was there any request, aside - you say that Sanjay mentioned one game, the Zimbabwe game, as such that he wanted it thrown. Is that what I understood?
MR CRONJE: Ja. He said to me that, listen, the only way that he's really assured of what the result of a game is going to be is if he knows that there are players involved, and I said to him that I am not prepared to speak to any players. The only time that I can help him with information that's going to be from the point of view of win/lose situation would be once we've qualified for the final, and that situation never arrived in South Africa.
MR BLUMBERG: And that discussion took place in the hotel room that day?
MR CRONJE: I think so, ja. Very briefly, ja.
MR BLUMBERG: Just to interpose for one second, was Sanjay the first person that Hamid had brought you to meet, or had he brought many people to show his importance that he knows Hansie Cronjé?
MR CRONJE: Other than the actress, I've met Hamid on a few occasions before. I've never met Sanjay and I wasn't aware of Hamid being involved with anyone other than Sanjay, no.
MR BLUMBERG: Were you aware that Cassim was instrumental in acquiring South African cricketers to play in benefit games in India?
MR CRONJE: I believe that's correct, yes. I have heard about that, and I don't have first-hand knowledge of it, but I am aware of that and I'm also aware that he's friendly with some of the Indian and possibly Pakistani players. That's correct, ja.
MR BLUMBERG: About 7 or 8 South African players got overseas trips because of Sanjay.
MR CRONJE: That can be true, ja, sure.
MR BLUMBERG: Just - would I be correct in describing ...(intervention)
MR CRONJE: ...(microphone not on)
MR BLUMBERG: Hamid, sorry. Would I be correct in describing him as a very generous man?
MR CRONJE: Yes, he is. I mean, he's always handing out biltong, and I believe he has helped some of the players with sweets, I think. But he does ask in return. He does ask for the odd ticket in return, so for sure, ja, if you say he's generous then, yes, he hands out and in return he does ask for the odd ticket and he has asked for the odd shirt.
MR BLUMBERG: He doesn't say, 'Here's biltong, give me a ticket.' He gives you the biltong over periods of time, and when he requires a ticket, he will phone up and call up a favour. Is that the type of pattern of behaviour?
MR CRONJE: Yes, that's correct.
MR BLUMBERG: And he has, when had an electronic business, also he recalls particularly Andrew Hudson had a break-in at his house and they stole his video machine, and he wasn't insured and he gave him a video machine. Do you agree with that?
MR CRONJE: I wouldn't know.
MR BLUMBERG: And he has given cricketers other type of equipment, or sold them at cost price to them as well.
MR CRONJE: Could have done, yes.
MR BLUMBERG: And I was also - I was particularly amazed that he has since this storm erupted had many phone calls from members of the team offering their support to him.
MR CRONJE: I wouldn't know.
MR BLUMBERG: You wouldn't be able to dispute that. Would it surprise you?
MR CRONJE: No.
MR BLUMBERG: Are you aware that on one occasion when Fanie de Villiers played in a benefit game overseas, that Fanie took his father along?
MR CRONJE: I'm not aware of that, no.
MR BLUMBERG: He did in fact. In lieu of his match fee, he took an extra ticket to take his father along. You can't dispute that?
MR CRONJE: No.
MR BLUMBERG: Other players that he took along, H.D. Ackerman, Stewart, ......
MR CRONJE: I won't dispute that at all.
MR BLUMBERG: That's the lesser known of the Protea's squad.
MR CRONJE: Ja, I wouldn't dispute that at all.
MR BLUMBERG: You handed or attach a document to your statement regarding a benefit game, where you took $25 000 as a deposit, which was due to have taken place some time now, is that correct?
MR CRONJE: Yes, that benefit tournament was going to take place towards the end of April, beginning of May in India, yes.
MR BLUMBERG: So they do have regular benefit games on the sub-continent?
MR CRONJE: I believe they do, yes.
MR BLUMBERG: And they try and have a mix of world cricketers, basically, at these benefit games?
MR CRONJE: Yes, there was also a World XI match scheduled for the 22nd of April, if my memory serves me correct, yes.
MR BLUMBERG: Are you also - are you aware possibly that certain of the Indian cricket players have come to South Africa for medical treatment, and while they're here Hamid take them around.
MR CRONJE: That might be the case. I wouldn't know.
MR BLUMBERG: You haven't heard of that?
MR CRONJE: I know that he's friendly with some of the opposition players, yes.
MR BLUMBERG: Now overseas, have you ever seen Hamid overseas?
MR CRONJE: I may have done. I see a lot of people, a lot of tourists from South Africa. I may have done. It could have been in India, it could have been Pakistan for that matter. I'm not aware of that. I may have done.
MR BLUMBERG: You do mention that he called you - well, you seem to say that he nagged you, incessantly at one stage while you were overseas in India.
MR CRONJE: Yes. He called me as a request to speak to Sanjay, 'cause I think Sanjay was telling him that he wanted to get in contact with me, yes.
MR BLUMBERG: He will tell the Commission that the only times that he did call you was because Sanjay phoned and said, 'I can't get hold of Hansie. Please get hold of him and tell him to call me.'
MR CRONJE: It may have been a coincidence, but he called me quite a lot of times and Sanjay would follow thereafter. So it could have been that him and Sanjay were on the phone quite a lot together. I wouldn't know, I mean I don't follow the conversations between Sanjay and Hamid.
MR BLUMBERG: What I am putting to you is that he was merely a conduit of messages. He had nothing to do with any of proposed debts which might have followed in discussions with Sanjay.
MR CRONJE: As I am aware I never placed any money on a game. I think Sanjay was the one that placed the bets.
MR BLUMBERG: What I want to establish is whether Hamied himself was in any way instrumental, other than introducing you to Sanjay, to further the relationship between the two of you, between you and Sanjay.
MR CRONJE: As far as I am aware, and as far as I am concerned Hamied introduced me to Sanjay and from then on just spoke to me and said to me that Sanjay is trying to get hold of me will I speak to him and so I can't directly answer whether Hamied was the one that was actually putting money on or not. I am not aware of that.
MR BLUMBERG: No, but what you are saying is he never ever spoke to you in relation to gambling or to pitch reports or to team selections.
MR CRONJE: That is correct, but he would speak to me in relation with Sanjay to say to me that Sanjay is trying to get hold of me, speak to him.
MR BLUMBERG: You see because I don't think that your statement conveys that sentiment. It is worded in the manner "they" as if it was a concerted effort between Sanjay and Hamied to do various things for various matches.
MR CRONJE: Well as I say to you that Hamied was the one that introduced me to Sanjay and I was under the impression that they knew one-another quite well.
MR BLUMBERG: So other than that that was the only role he played was introducing you and then telling you to please contact Sanjay?
MR CRONJE: Yes, if you mean ...(indistinct), yes.
MR BLUMBERG: And he was never instrumental in any way in suggesting that any matches should be, any information should be given?
MR CRONJE: No he was merely the one that said to me that Sanjay was looking for me.
MR BLUMBERG: Now the first One-day in India, Cochin, you had an approach with regard to that game?
MR CRONJE: Sanjay wanted us to get involved from a point of view of trying to lose the game. I said to Sanjay that I would go along with that, I would speak to other players and I phoned him the morning of the game and said to him that yes indeed there are certain players involved when in fact that was not true. I said to him that we would try and keep the score under 220 and that was not the case. We got 301 for 3 and India won the game quite easily after Hayward was injured. When I got back to the room Sanjay was very upset with the fact that we got too many runs.
MR BLUMBERG: Are you saying that there was never an attempt to throw that game?
MR CRONJE: It was definitely spoken about and I definitely gave that impression and I definitely suggested to Sanjay that we will do that, but I was merely spinning him along, if that's what you are trying to say. But I never, ever spoke to any player, I myself gave 100% and I was merely trying to spin Sanjay along to try and satisfy him. I thought after one game if I can get him off my back then at least I can get rid of him.
MR BLUMBERG: In that match South Africa scored 301, is that correct?
MR CRONJE: That is correct.
MR BLUMBERG: Now you came in at a stage I think seven wickets were down - no three wickets were down, you still had seven wickets in hand?
MR CRONJE: That is correct.
MR BLUMBERG: And you scored 19 runs off 20 balls.
MR CRONJE: That is correct.
MR BLUMBERG: Would you consider that a good scoring rate bearing in mind the run chase is on, you've got many wickets in hand, an attacking player - well you certainly have the ability to attack, don't you find it strange that you didn't hit one boundary in that period?
MR CRONJE: The sub-continent is very difficult to just walk in and slog the ball all over the place. It's often easier for a player that is set to try and hit the ball. When you have to walk in there with two or three overs to go and the ball is reverse swinging, it's dark in colour it's very difficult to get the ball away.
MR BLUMBERG: So you say that the 19 runs you got off those 20 balls was the most you could possibly score in the circumstances?
MR CRONJE: Yes.
MR BLUMBERG: Were you taking singles?
MR CRONJE: I was trying to hit the ball as hard as I can. At that stage there's five sweepers out forming a circle and they were all on the edge of the ring so there's not too many gaps and if I am correct Agit Agerker was bowling and it was quite hard to get him away.
MR BLUMBERG: Because at a certain stage the projected score at the end of 50 overs was in the region of 335 to 340 runs.
MR CRONJE: That often happens in the sub-continent as the ball is very hard up-front and it's often easy up-front to in fact hit the ball. Herschelle Gibbs in particular was very severe on the bowling up-front, so was Sarif Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar, because in the sub-continent the white kookaburra is very hard and it's easier to despatch early in the innings.
MR BLUMBERG: So would you say that there's a pattern in all of these matches that the scoring rate could possibly drop off during the run-chasers, as is commonly known, at the end of an innings, or was it just in this particular match that the run rate dropped off?
MR CRONJE: If you take a general pattern on the sub-continent I would think that statistics would suggest that the scoring rate in the first 15 overs is higher than the last 15 overs. It could even be the same, but certainly the first 15 overs is a lot higher in the sub-continent compared to other countries around the world. In other countries you would like to have wickets in hand and try and score as quick as you can towards the end, whereas in the sub-continent you have got to try and score up-front as quick as you can because it's not that easy for a new batsman to walk in and just score runs quickly.
MR BLUMBERG: To just come to the Gibbs' episode where you had spoken to Gibbs and Williams in their room, you say in your statement that "it became clear that Gibbs had forgotten about this arrangement or got it out of his mind and he batted exceptionally well". Your intention was, basically, when you had your discussion with Gibbs and Williams was that they should play along and that Gibbs shouldn't get more than, he should get less than 20 runs and that Williams should go for more than 50, is that correct?
MR CRONJE: That is correct.
MR BLUMBERG: Right now what were your thoughts when you saw what Gibbs was doing to the bowling?
MR CRONJE: My thoughts was that obviously he had got the thought out of his mind and that he's not playing along and that he went ahead and natural instinct took over and he got on with it. And obviously in my mind that he was proud of playing for his country and forget about the incident and go on and get the runs.
MR BLUMBERG: Are you suggesting that he was probably rebelling against your offer and was doing his best to get as many runs as he could?
MR CRONJE: Could be.
MR BLUMBERG: He testified that "he forgot about the offer". Now let's be realistic it's probably the first offer he ever got in his life and it was a lot of money, he said he forget about the offer.
MR CRONJE: It was obvious to me that once Herschelle had walked on to the field and the way he was hitting the bowling that he took no notice of the offer. I am not saying that I tried to encourage him otherwise. I would say that if anything that was the attempt from myself from Herschelle Gibbs to try and keep a - fix a game, it was a very poor attempt.
MR BLUMBERG: Gibbs was still batting when you came in?
MR CRONJE: That is correct.
MR BLUMBERG: What did you say to Gibbs when you came in bearing in mind he had let you down?
MR CRONJE: Well we laughed about it because I didn't take it particularly seriously at the time. I mean I obviously realised that by that stage that our attempt had failed and as I walked on to the field he said to me "what now?", and I said to him "well your role is always to be positive, you must be positive, but if anybody is going to take a risk then I must take the risk and you must bat through". That is the orders from the coach whenever you play One-day cricket that the batsman that is set he must now start batting through.
MR BLUMBERG: And you went out before Gibbs.
MR CRONJE: That is correct, I went out before Gibbs.
MR BLUMBERG: So Gibbs carried on. You describe it as one of the best innings you have seen him play.
MR CRONJE: It was certainly one of the more entertaining and one of the better innings I saw him play. He also got 200 and 175 on the same field and it certainly looked like he wanted to go that same route in that game.
MR BLUMBERG: The offer that could be refused, let's call it that one, the offer of R200-thousand that was made to you for the team to throw a match, you know which one I am talking about?
MR CRONJE: In the '96 Tour?
MR BLUMBERG: Yes.
MR CRONJE: Yes.
MR BLUMBERG: Now you describe a situation where you were made an offer of $200-thousand and you discussed it with a few of the players first.
MR CRONJE: I said to some of the players on the aeroplane on the way over and also in the bus towards the hotel, that I have in fact received an offer for the team to perform badly in the One-day International. I asked some of the senior players what their thoughts were. They said to me that we must immediately have a team meeting, and I said we are going to have a team meeting and discuss the offer of throwing the benefit match, or the last One-day International in 1996, that's correct.
MR BLUMBERG: Now this was really a "nothing" game wasn't it?
MR CRONJE: If you want to call it a "nothing" game it was a benefit game, but it was, as we found out on the tour, it was later lifted to a full One-day International.
MR BLUMBERG: I seem to perceive a pattern of games under suspicion seem to be games that are of very little consequence, in other words the series has already been won, a benefit game that has suddenly been changed into a One-day International, now this was one of those games, wasn't it? In fact you said that you were very tired, you were fatigued, you had injury problems, it was on those facts a far easier game to do what you had done before, take the money and not do anything, you were going to lose anyway, which you had done previously on that tour.
MR CRONJE: Which I did in the third test match, yes that's correct, but I don't really understand what you are trying to ask.
MR BLUMBERG: What I am trying to say to you, you get this offer, a substantial offer which you have discussed with a few of your team-mates, you then bring it up at the team meeting, you then discuss it further with a few players, were these the same few players you'd approached on the bus initially with the proposition or were they a few different players that you discussed it further with?
MR CRONJE: It was different players.
MR BLUMBERG: Do you remember who they were?
MR CRONJE: No.
MR BLUMBERG: On either occasion, those on the bus or those in the room?
MR CRONJE: I think those in the bus might have been - I mean on the plane might have been Gary Kirsten and possibly Derek Crookes. Those in the bus could have been Dave Richardson, I think, but those in the meeting afterwards, as I said, to the best of my knowledge was Brian McMillan, Pat Symcox, and possibly Dave Richardson.
MR BLUMBERG: Now the players - was there a serious discussion about this offer to the players?
MR CRONJE: In 1996?
MR BLUMBERG: Yes.
MR CRONJE: In the room ...(intervention)
MR BLUMBERG: Yes.
MR CRONJé: ....was a serious discussion, yes.
MR BLUMBERG: I find that totally dishonourable that a team can actually sit down and seriously discuss an offer of that nature, do you agree with me?
MR CRONJE: It was a seriously dishonest, that's not the right word, it was a seriously bad behaviour from my side because I was the one that took the offer to the team. It was totally unasked for. I think it's totally wrong for the team to go through the questioning because they in fact had nothing to do with the offer. It was me that brought it to them and it was - if you say it was a dishonourable thing then it must directly relate to me and not to them because none of them knew about it, knew where it was coming from and none of them called for the meeting. It was in fact my suggestion.
MR BLUMBERG: I admire you taking the rap as such, but surely to goodness players of that stature to actually debate the pros and cons of an offer of that nature I would call it reprehensible.
MR CRONJE: I have sympathy with the players just talking about it because I don't think it was, I don't want to call it fair but, it was obvious that we were going to catch a serious "klap" in that game as only about four of the members were fit, so if ever there was a good chance for a team to discuss it that was the time to discuss it. But once again I want to come back to it, I am not trying to take the rap for it, I am trying to say to you that I was the one that took the offer to the team and I was the one that discussed the possibility of doing that, and I was the one that accepted the offer from MK, took it to the team, and then I was the one that phoned him and rejected it.
MR BLUMBERG: You don't reject it out of hand, you actually sit and discuss and you say ...(intervention)
MR FITZGERALD: Mr Commissioner may I interrupt. There has already been testimony in this Commission by the players who acknowledge that it was wrong to discuss the offer at all, so with respect I am not sure where my learned friend is going.
COMMISSIONER: I think you are travelling a little perhaps out of your brief, it doesn't concern either of your clients Mr Blumberg does it?
MR BLUMBERG: Mr Commissioner at the end of the day findings will be made on credibility possibly of my client as opposed to versions given by Mr Cronje and I would believe that I would be entitled to test his credibility on issues - I mean credibility is very important.
COMMISSIONER: Yes if you test his credibility in the sense that when it has to be measured up against the credibility of your clients, I think that as Mr Fitzgerald said it's all really common cause. Mr Cronje has very frankly admitted his role in it, his complicity and without, as he puts it, or as you put it, trying to take the rap, he has, I think correctly, pointed out that he was the prime mover in the whole episode. I think it is also common cause that the team should never have discussed it. But I don't think it's a matter for Mr Cronje's credibility on that particular aspect.
MR BLUMBERG: I will leave it at that point Mr Commissioner. Mr Cronje when did you first report that incident and to whom?
MR CRONJE: The 1996 proposal?
MR BLUMBERG: Yes, yes.
MR CRONJE: Do you mean administrators, do you mean coaches, do you mean managers?
MR BLUMBERG: Someone of authority.
MR CRONJE: Mr Woolmer knew about it on the same day that the game took place.
MR BLUMBERG: And you say that he made a statement to the media?
MR CRONJE: Not straight away, maybe later, yes.
MR BLUMBERG: How much later?
MR CRONJE: I am not - I speak under correction, it could have been two years, could have been a year, three years, I am not sure.
MR BLUMBERG: With regard to the matters within my brief, my two clients basically there's very little in dispute between your version and their version, do you agree?
MR CRONJE: Yes.
MR BLUMBERG: I have no further questions, thank you.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR BLUMBERG
COMMISSIONER: Thank you. Mr Cronje you have had a long day, we will adjourn until 09H30 tomorrow morning.
COMMISSION ADJOURNS AT 15H57