Some CSA board members 'fighting' for Welsh Gwaza, says Yacoob

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Former Constitutional Court Judge Zak Yacoob at Wits University on March 6, 2013.
Former Constitutional Court Judge Zak Yacoob at Wits University on March 6, 2013.
(Gallo Images/The Times/Moeletsi Mabe)
  • CSA company secretary Welsh Gwaza’s suspension has caused massive tension inside the company’s interim board as well as with the members’ council.
  • Gwaza was served a letter of suspension on 30 November, following charges relating to the Fundudzi report.
  • Former cricketer Omphile Ramela is facing expulsion from the board, while former Easterns president Xolani Peter Vonya has been suspended.

The matter relating to Cricket South Africa’s (CSA’s) suspended company secretary Welsh Gwaza has caused massive tension inside the company’s interim board.

Interim board chair Judge Zak Yacoob said on Thursday that some of their members questioned circumstances around Gwaza’s suspension but not the material charges themselves.

Gwaza was served a letter of suspension on 30 November, following charges relating to the findings in the Fundudzi Forensic Services report.

READ | Who is mystery man Welsh Gwaza?

Yacoob detailed the difficulty of the discussions behind the scenes inside the interim board as well as in their interaction with the members’ council around the Gwaza issue.

"The Gwaza suspension was a very difficult issue because we first discussed it on Saturday the 28th of November and came to the conclusion that the charge sheet had to be drafted and served, and the suspension had to begin," said Yacoob.

"The conversation was long and varied, with the result that some board members, a minority, came to the maybe justifiable conclusion that we had not made that decision.

"When the charge sheet was served on Monday (30 November), they raised the issue that as far as they were concerned the charge sheet hadn’t been served."

At Thursday’s press briefing, Yacoob revealed that fellow interim board member Omphile Ramela was facing expulsion and Xolani Peter Vonya was suspended from board activities.

Former cricketer Ramela stepped down from his South African Cricketers’ Association presidency to take up a position as CSA director.

Vonya was the Eastern Cricket Union (Easterns) president prior to joining the board.

Yacoob described Ramela as "obstructive" and "refused to accept majority decisions".

The chairperson’s comments implied that Ramela (and by association Vonya) were the voices of dissent against the procedures that went into suspending Gwaza.

"What was interesting is that the questions from some of the dissentions, about the serving of the charge sheet, were echoed in the questions Mr Gwaza himself asked as far as the media were concerned," said Yacoob.

"Therefore, we had to be alive to the fact that some members of the council (interim board) were possibly liaising with Mr Gwaza and taking cudgels up on his behalf.

"We took a decision that, even if the majority was wrong in deciding to serve the charge sheet on Monday, we said let us reaffirm it.

"There was no trouble about drawing the charge sheet. The only debate between the minority and the majority was when to serve it."

Yacoob said he suspected that there were some interim board members who had "taken up cudgels" on Gwaza’s behalf.

"I must say, personally, I do suspect that the people were taking up the cudgels on behalf of Mr Gwaza," said Yacoob.

"I cannot say it is true but I think it is my job to tell you what my reasonable suspicion is. I am not determining a case as a judge here; I am acting as the chair of a board that needs to take strong and stern measures to fix things.

"If I cogitated over everything and took a month or so to decide a case, which we always do in difficult decisions, nothing would happen.

"There is a distinction between my role as a judge and my role here."

READ MORE | CSA interim board seeks to remove Ramela

Yacoob also said there was some vigorous debate between the interim board and the members’ council regarding the Gwaza suspension at a meeting held on Wednesday night.

"We raised the matter of Mr Gwaza’s suspension before the members’ council yesterday (Wednesday)," Yacoob said.

"And there was, at the beginning, a great deal of animosity with many members of the provincial council (members’ council) taking over precisely the same points, which was quite interesting because they had not been at our meeting.

"They were taking the same points of procedural fairness and other things, which worried me a great deal because [they made it seem] as if they understood matters of procedural fairness and measures of that kind much better than we did.

"And yet, we have two reasonably good lawyers (Yacoob and Judith February) in our panel and we are not going to act improperly and badly."

Gwaza’s disciplinary hearing commences Monday 14 December.

"The inquiry will take place on Monday and Tuesday and there is going to be an independent person running the inquiry," added Yacoob.

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