Boucher will still face a disciplinary hearing in May over charges of gross misconduct
“The DOC and head coach were appointed in December 2019 under the previous board. It is clear from the (SJN) report that there were irregularities in those processes. Those appointments were subsequently endorsed and ratified by the then board. Our hands are tied in terms of those processes,” Naidoo said.
Asked by MPs why Boucher and Smith have not been suspended, Naidoo explained that CSA acted on legal advice. “It’s important to state, and this applies to all the legal processes we are involved in, we will follow due process. I can assure the portfolio committee that the board took legal advice on whether that (suspension) was possible and we received the legal opinion from two senior lawyers,” Naidoo said. “They advised us that there was no legal basis to suspend Mark Boucher and Graeme Smith. The board took a unanimous decision not to suspend because it would open us up to unnecessary litigation.”
Already, CSA have spent R50 million (US$3.2 million) in legal fees over the last two years. A significant portion of that could have gone into sorting out disciplinary matters. CSA have dismissed former CEO Moroe, former acting CEO Kugandrie Govender, former company secretary Welsh Gwaza, former head of commercial Clive Eksteen and former chief operating officer Naasei Appiah. Most of those cases went to appeals, resulting in a more drawn out process, Eksteen winning against CSA before parting ways and Appiah settling. The sports ministry criticised the costs of ongoing litigation at the organisation. “The department takes a dim view of the money directed away from programs for legal fees,” Vusumuzi Mkhize, the director general of the department of sport said. “We prefer settling outside of court.”
Mkize was also asked about the department’s view of the Boucher situation, especially because Boucher is continuing in his role as head coach. “That is not a ministerial responsibility. The minister may not deal with employees of the board unless there has been a clear breakdown of governance,” he said. “We encourage them to move with speed.”
The same applies to the CSA’s inability to appoint a permanent CEO, which has dragged on for months. The new board, who were put in place in June, have said it is their “priority,” to fill the role currently occupied by Pholetsi Moseki, but are yet to find a suitable candidate.
“In August last year we placed a public advertisement for the CEO and engaged the services of a recruitment company. We received a shortlist of candidates and interviewed them but we were unable to conclude an agreement to appoint anyone at that stage,” Naidoo said. “We have since embarked on a further process with the services of a separate recruitment company. We hope to make an announcement in the next few weeks. We are cognisant that this is the priority of the board. It is a process the board is giving due attention to.”
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent