Proteas coach Mark Boucher and his team of heavyweight legal representatives will meet with the chairperson of his disciplinary hearing, Advocate Terry Motau, on Wednesday, 26 January to agree to a timetable for the legal proceedings.
With the Proteas set to make the journey to New Zealand next Wednesday, 2 February for their two-Test series against the Black Caps, it’s therefore highly unlikely the hearing will kick off until the team’s return in March.
Due to New Zealand’s strict coronavirus quarantine measures, all travellers to the country must serve a 10-day ‘managed isolation and quarantine’.
The Proteas’ first Test against world champions New Zealand starts on Thursday, 17 February.
South Africa are scheduled to face Bangladesh in a three-match One-Day International series in March, but following that has a few months off before heading to England in July, which should leave sufficient time for the hearing to take place.
Boucher’s legal defence for his disciplinary hearing will be bankrolled by a group of super rich businessmen.
We’re talking multi-millionaires who are reportedly willing to spare no cost to ensure the former Proteas wicketkeeper receives the best defence money can buy.
According to last Sunday’s Rapport newspaper, the group funding Boucher’s defence is outraged by CSA’s allegations of “overt and subliminal racism” against the 147-Test veteran.
Boucher, 45, has been charged with “gross misconduct” by Cricket South Africa (CSA) following allegations of racism made against him by former team-mate Paul Adams at the Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) hearings which took place in the latter half of 2021.
Adams said his team-mates – including Boucher – had referred to him as “brown shit” during post-match fines meetings while singing an adaptation of Boney M’s “Brown Girl in the Ring”.
Boucher was the team’s “fines master” in the late 1990s.
In addition, former Proteas assistant coach Enoch Nkwe’s resignation in August last year will also be addressed during Boucher’s disciplinary hearing.
Nkwe claimed he had been “undermined” and reduced to being a “cones boy” in a “toxic working environment”.
South Africa’s richest man, Johann Rupert, responded on Twitter to a SA Cricket mag column with: “Let’s wait for the legal team of @markb46 to examine the ‘evidence’ and call some witnesses.”
It’s unclear whether Rupert is one of the businessmen bankrolling Boucher’s legal team. The pair are known to be good friends.
Mark Boucher’s charge sheet – which runs to seven pages – makes mention of the fact he’s entitled to be represented by a legal representative of his own choice, at his own cost.
The disciplinary hearing will begin at 09:00 on Wednesday, 26 January when the respective legal teams will meet to agree on a timetable.
According to the Rapport article, legal experts that the newspaper consulted believe the charge sheet, although comprehensive, is badly drafted, which may allow Boucher’s legal team room to manoeuvre.
A source said: “It’s vague, full of extraneous stuff and generally full of bullshit. It runs to seven pages because of the waffle, but could have been condensed into a page and a half.”
CSA’s timing of the release of its statement regarding Boucher’s disciplinary hearing was stunningly poor.
The governing body did so on Thursday last week – the day after the first ODI against India and the day before the second match!
You’d be forgiven for thinking it was a deliberate ploy to destabilise the team and Boucher as coach.
Thankfully, the Proteas won both those ODIs – as well as Sunday’s third and final clash – to complete a 3-0 series whitewash.
“You can only infer that the timing of the release was malicious,” said a source reportedly close to Boucher.
Why CSA didn’t wait until Monday after the series had wrapped up, remains a mystery.
CSA’s statement, posted on a media WhatsApp group on Thursday afternoon, was so incredibly shocking that he had to be seen to be believed.
It was headlined “[Graeme] Smith and Boucher to be suspended” – before being deleted and the heading changed and confirmation that the pair had in fact not been suspended!
Boucher’s hearing is going to cost CSA even more money (the SJN hearings cost a reported R7.5 million for six months) that they don’t have.
Unfortunately, such is the nature of these disciplinary hearings that there are ultimately no winners.
Boucher faces two likely scenarios when the eventual outcome is reached.
If he loses, he will be dismissed immediately.
In the wins, it’s unlikely he will stay on as coach of the national team. He would walk away with a hefty payout for the two years then remain on his contract.
However, Boucher will never fully remove the stain of been perceived as being a racist – even if he wins the case.