Johannesburg [South Africa], May 10 (ANI): Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Tuesday announced that they have withdrawn charges of misconduct, including charges of racism against Proteas head coach Mark Boucher.
The nation's cricket governing body further concluded that there is no basis to sustain any of the disciplinary charges, which include racism, against Mark Boucher, head coach of the Men's cricket team. The Board of CSA has therefore formally and unreservedly withdrawn all of the charges.
"In December 2021, the CSA Board received the report from the independent Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) Ombudsman, Dumisa Ntsebeza SC. That report made adverse "tentative findings" regarding Boucher but because the Ombudsman stated that he was not in a position to make "definite findings" he recommended that further formal processes take place to achieve finality on these issues," said the board in a statement.
In line with their fiduciary and legal obligations, the CSA Board resolved to institute formal proceedings as per the SJN Report's recommendations, which would give all parties, including Boucher, a chance to respond to the allegations and fully state their case. CSA was advised by external lawyers that the appropriate formal process to follow in respect of Boucher was a formal disciplinary hearing in front of an independent Chairperson.
The charge sheet against Boucher ultimately included the tentative finding made by the SJN Ombudsman against Boucher, as well as issues arising from CSA's own internal enquiry following the resignation of the Proteas assistant coach, Enoch Nkwe. Terry Motau SC, a well-respected senior counsel, was appointed as the Chairperson of the disciplinary enquiry. After consultation with Boucher's legal team and considering the Proteas schedule, Motau SC determined that the disciplinary hearing would commence on May 16, 2022.
The CSA Board has now taken the decision to formally withdraw all of the disciplinary charges against Boucher. This includes the charges arising from the SJN report and the charges arising from the investigation following Nkwe's resignation. CSA has made this decision taking into account the following considerations:
1. Paul Adams recently announced that he had withdrawn from testifying against Boucher during the disciplinary hearing. In doing so, Adams stated that his concerns articulated during the SJN process were about the overall "culture" in the Proteas team during the early 2000s, rather than being about any particular player.
2. During the SJN process, Boucher formally apologised to Adams. After the SJN process, Adams indicated to CSA's lawyers that he accepts this apology.
3. Nkwe decided that he too did not wish to testify against Boucher during the disciplinary hearing. In doing so, Nkwe stated publicly that he did not intend to take sides regarding Boucher and that "whatever happens in that process, I hope the outcome will be the one that's best for the game".
4. CSA's lawyers engaged with various other potential witnesses over the last month and concluded that none of the three charges were sustainable.
5. The very recent ruling by Hamilton Maenetje SC and Michael Bishop in the Graeme Smith arbitration fortified the conclusion that the charges against Boucher would be dismissed.
Having taken all of the above into account, as well as the advice of its external lawyers, CSA concluded that there was no basis to sustain any of the charges against Boucher. CSA has therefore withdrawn the charges and will contribute towards his legal costs.
Lawson Naidoo, Chair of the CSA Board, commented: "CSA has at all times been committed to dealing with the SJN issues in a manner that treats them with utmost seriousness but also ensures fairness, due process and finality. The decision to withdraw the charges brings about finality on these issues for CSA and Mark and allows the focus to return to the cricket field - where we trust that Mark and the Proteas will go from strength to strength." (ANI)