With the disciplinary hearing just a week away, Cricket South Africa’s legal team may have to mull a completely different strategy in their case against Proteas head coach Mark Boucher following Paul Adams’ decision to not testify against his erstwhile team-mate.
Former national team assistant coach Enoch Nkwe is also likely not going to participate.
Adams issued a statement at the weekend in which he said he was not willing to be cross-examined over the allegations of racism he made at the Social Justice and Nation-Building hearings, which have been a central pillar of CSA’s case against Boucher.
CSA have also charged Boucher over his treatment of Nkwe, who resigned from his post in August last year, using the reasons he gave to the board as ammunition.
But informed sources say Nkwe is not willing to present evidence, believing the disciplinary hearing is a matter between CSA and the head coach.
Boucher is facing charges of gross misconduct, with CSA seeking his dismissal, and, in terms of labour law, he has the right to have any witnesses against him cross-examined. If neither Adams nor Nkwe is there, his lawyers are bound to insist their statements cannot be included in the hearing.
Even though his accusers’ case would now seem to have broken down, Boucher’s legal team say nothing has changed from their point of view.
“Mark Boucher said upfront that all he was interested in was clearing his name, which has been tarnished,” Mohammed Chavoos, Boucher’s legal counsel, told The Citizen on Monday.
“He welcomed the opportunity to do that at the hearing and that remains the case. Our position has never changed.
“It’s up to CSA to deal with their witnesses, they were the ones who embarked on this process. All we want to do is exonerate Mark.
“It’s why labour law is there, the principle of letting the other side be heard, that’s what’s important. Mark has welcomed the chance to clear his name of these allegations,” Chavoos said.
In his statement at the weekend, Adams said he never intended to single out Boucher in the SJN hearings, where he revealed the existence of the “Brown Shit” fines meeting song, but the former Proteas spinner did say the wicketkeeper/batsman “should come and say sorry, if that’s enough” and also targeted Boucher’s appointment as Titans coach in 2016.
“We want to put South African cricket first and take the Proteas back to number one. In my view, Mark Boucher is the best coach for South Africa, that’s where he belongs,” Chavoos added.
Boucher’s disciplinary hearing on charges of racism is scheduled for May 16-20, with senior counsel Terry Motau presiding.
The SJN report has already been partially discredited by former director of cricket Graeme Smith winning his arbitration hearing, with costs, against CSA.