Strangely, though, Cronje's good cry came shortly after he had jokingly told the King Commission that his wife would cut off his "other testicle" if she found one more dollar in their house. This-and other similar light-hearted exchanges between Cronje and Judge King-sparked off laughter at the Centre for the Book where the hearings are being held. But it was to be followed by an opening of the floodgates after Cronje was excused from the witness stand. While many understood, even empathised with, Cronje's breakdown, no one could explain why Marlon Aronstam, who followed directly after Cronje, also burst into tears. No sooner had the burly bookmaker taken to the stand when his tear-ducts began working overtime, forcing an early adjournment to the commission's deliberations. Once the free-talking Aronstam regained composure, he testified that Cronje had told him that he was prepared to throw matches so that they could both make more money from cricket-only an hour after the two had met! Aronstam's deposition could yet prove to be one of the most damning against Hansie Cronje.
Meanwhile, the beleaguered South African cricket supremo, Dr Ali Bacher, welcomed the ICC's announcement that an Anti-Corruption Unit headed by former chief of the London Metropolitan Police, Sir Paul Condon, will investigate two 1999 World Cup cricket matches involving Pakistan. "I'm very pleased the ICC saw it fit not to sweep around the carpet," said Bacher.
Acquiring the tapes from the Delhi Police that allegedly contain conversations between Cronje and a certain bookmaker is also proving to be a king-sized problem. By mid-week, the office of President Thabo Mbeki could not confirm if an official request had been made by the King Commission. "It all depends on the legality (of the Indian police's decision to keep the recordings)... there has to be a reason why they don't make the tapes available," stated Tasneem Carrim of the president's office.
So frustrating has been Batohi's inability to make any headway that one Cape resident vacated his vantage position at a local bar and made his way to the Centre for the Book. "Get that bloody stupid woman out of there," he told officials who stopped him. "Let me at Cronje. I'll do a much better job of getting the truth out of him." Many have also been playing jury via internet and phone-in polls. In one phone-in poll conducted by e-tv, a national TV channel in South Africa, approximately 85 per cent of the 12,000 callers who responded in a three-hour poll felt that Cronje should be forgiven and not face banishment. However, many do suspect Hansie has been protecting team-mates and possibly other role-players in the sport. "Is Cronje really the lone rogue in this scandal, or are there others, beyond Herschelle Gibbs and Henry Williams and the usual suspect bookies, who were at least aware, if not part, of his schemes?" wrote one scribe.
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