Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent
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Members of South Africa's current squad will testify on behalf of head coach Mark Boucher when his disciplinary hearing begins on May 16. Cricket South Africa are seeking Boucher's dismissal over charges of gross misconduct relating to his handling of historical and current race-based issues, including his participation in singing a song with the words "brown s***" to former team-mate Paul Adams.
Boucher was formally charged in January 17 but the hearing can only begin at the conclusion of the South African home summer due to player availability.
At a meeting last Wednesday with disciplinary chair Terry Motau SC, CSA argued for the hearing to take place between March 7 and 11, after South Africa return from New Zealand and before they play Bangladesh and asked for "expediency and a speedy commencement". Boucher asked for dates in May - 10 to 19 specifically - because he wanted to call players as witness and did not want to disrupt them mid-season. Motau agreed to Boucher's suggestion.
"Having considered both arguments, I agree with arguments advanced on behalf of Mr Boucher and I have decided to postpone the matter for the hearing to be held in the week commencing 16 to 20 May 2022," his decision reads.
It is not clear which players Boucher is planning to call on or whether they will be otherwise engaged at the IPL, which will be taking place at the same time as the hearings. It is also not known if Adams, or any other past players will be called on to testify.
CSA had served Boucher with a seven-page charge sheet in January, which accused him of gross misconduct and bringing CSA into disrepute through historical and current handling of racial issues.
The most serious charges against Boucher are vis-à-vis the Adams incident, which was revealed by the former bowler at the Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) hearings. Boucher admitted to singing the song, but said he did not compose the lyrics and in a written affidavit, apologised for his conduct. He also said CSA did not appropriately educate players in the immediate post-Apartheid era. Boucher did not appear for oral testimony. CSA was not satisfied with Boucher's response and the charge sheet claimed he has conducted himself in "a racist or subliminally racist manner".
Boucher has also been charged with improper conduct when dealing with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) campaign in sport. According to the charge sheet, "when dealing with the BlackLivesMatter issue and the question of 'taking the knee', you allegedly dealt with the white players' concerns and requested that the team manager (who is black) deal with the black players' concerns. This allegedly created or exacerbated division and alienated players and the team."
The former South Africa wicketkeeper is also accused of poor man management of his former assistant coach Enoch Nkwe, who resigned in August. Nkwe cited concerns with team culture and insiders confirmed he had a difficult working relationship with Boucher. The charge sheet claimed that Boucher did not provide clear "roles and responsibilities" or "meaningful key-performance indicators" for Nkwe, did not define his role or any development plans for him and, thus, "allegedly treated Mr Nkwe in a manner unbecoming of a leader in your position".
In totality, this trio of accusations brought CSA to the conclusion that Boucher's "conduct has resulted in an irretrievable breakdown in the trust relationship between you and CSA". "In the circumstances, the sanction of dismissal will be sought before the Chairperson of the disciplinary enquiry," point 23 of the charge sheet reads.
Boucher, appointed in December 2019, is contracted until the 2023 World Cup.