Photo Credit: Cricket South Africa
CSA instituted disciplinary proceedings against Mr Welsh Gwaza, the CSA Company Secretary, on 30 November 2020. Mr Gwaza was suspended on the same day, with full pay, pending the determination of the disciplinary enquiry.
The hearing was set to commence on 14 December 2020, which afforded Mr Gwaza more than the minimum 3 days’ notice set in CSA’s Disciplinary Code. However, pursuant to a postponement application brought by the legal representative for Mr Gwaza, the first day of the hearing was deferred to 17 December 2020.
In totality, proceedings were heard on 17 and 18 December 2020, on 13, 14, 17, 18 and 19 February 2021, and on 18, 19 and 21 March 2021. The proceedings were presided over by well-respected and senior Johannesburg counsel, Advocate Terry Motau SC.
The charges brought against Mr Gwaza by CSA can be summarized as follows:
i. Charge 1 – gross insubordination and/or insolence in respect of Mr Gwaza’s interactions with members of the interim board of directors.
ii. Charge 2 – breach(es) of the provisions of the Companies Act, and Mr Gwaza’s failure and/or refusal to disclose relevant information. This charge consisted of various sub-charges in which it was alleged that Mr Gwaza misconducted himself with regard to the following transactions/scenarios:
a. representations made to the International Cricket Council;
b. the appointment of People Link and Ms Chantel Moon;
c. the conclusion of the Framework Agreement between CSA and Global Sports Commerce;
d. CSA’s exercise of its “step-in” rights in respect of the Western Province Cricket Association; and
e. CSA’s exercise of its “step-in” rights in respect of the North-West Cricket Union.
iii. Charge 3 – gross misconduct and dereliction of duty.
iv. Charge 4 – breach(es) of CSA’s Code of Ethics.
Regrettably, the expeditious finalisation of proceedings sought by CSA was regularly compromised by Mr Gwaza and his legal team, who took various opportunities to raise speculative technical points and launch numerous and ill-advised interlocutory applications which often required several unnecessary postponements of the matter. Mr Gwaza’s intermittent unavailability to attend proceedings, as well as that of his witnesses, also contributed to the overall delays in these proceedings.
But for this, proceedings would have been concluded much sooner. In this regard, Adv Motau stated the following in his findings: “I have endeavoured to be as fair as possible to Mr Gwaza, and even generous in my approach to his defence, notwithstanding the impact on CSA. However, the manner in which he and his legal team have conducted themselves in these proceedings has, at times, left much to be desired.”
Adv Motau delivered his findings, comprehensively set out in a 193-page document, on 24 May 2021, in which he found Mr Gwaza guilty of charge 1 and sub-charges 2 (a), (b), (c) and (d) (as set out above).
Given the public interest in these proceedings, a full copy of the chairperson’s findings, the sanction given and an executive summary of the findings prepared by CSA’s attorneys. All these can be accessed on the CSA website at the following link: https://bit.ly/355sZdI.
Following the chairperson’s findings, the parties filed their submissions in mitigation and aggravation of sentence on 2 June 2021. On 10 June 2021, Adv Motau notified the parties that, given the severity and seriousness of the charges on which Mr Gwaza was found guilty, and further as there was little doubt that the employment relationship between CSA and Mr Gwaza had irretrievably broken down, the most appropriate sanction in the circumstances would be for Mr Gwaza to be dismissed with immediate effect.
Regarding the pending disciplinary proceedings against CSA’s Chief Commercial Officer, Ms Kugandrie Govender, CSA confirms that the hearing of oral evidence on both sides has concluded. The parties are in the midst of submitting their written closing argument by 11 June 2021, following which Adv Motau (who also presided over this matter) will prepare his written findings in these proceedings.