I value my integrity more than life, says Judge Zak Yacoob

By Mervyn Naidoo, Lethu Nxumalo 21m in the past

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Durban – Judge Zak Yacoob’s three-month tenure with Cricket SA (CSA) ended abruptly this week after an almost 40-minute lengthy recorded dialog between him and Tiisetso Malepa, a journalist, did the rounds on social media.

Judge Yacoob is heard repeatedly referring to Malepa as being “idiotic”, “irresponsible” and “dishonest”.

Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa additionally heard the recording. After conversing with Yacoob, it was agreed that the decide ought to recuse himself from chairing CSA’S board.

That prompted CSA, on Wednesday, to launch a press release asserting that Yacoob had “sincerely expressed remorse” over the utterances and had stepped down from his position, in the most effective pursuits of cricket.

Dr Stavros Nicolaou has since been put in as the brand new board chairperson till February 15.

By then Yacoob had already been extensively criticised for the verbal assault on Malepa, with some commentators saying the outburst was a show of unbecoming behaviour by a decide.

Yacoob responded that “nobody is speaking about the lies he (Malepa) raised, which he also shared with the minister (Mthethwa)”.

He was referring to questions emailed to him by Malepa on the night of January 13, which was the preamble to the phone dialog, the following morning, which turned ballistic and has since gone viral.

There have been two points raised particularly, within the electronic mail, which irked Yacoob.

The first was about him allegedly bullying Kugandrie Govender, the suspended CSA appearing chief government, and his supply of R5000, from his personal pocket, for her authorized prices.

The different question that Yacoob took challenge with was Malepa’s allegation that he had a bribery cost pending towards him, with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and the matter had been adjourned a number of instances.

Malepa was referring to earlier media studies in 2019, which associated to the sacking of Shamilla Surjoo, the previous director of the KZN Blind and Deaf Society, over sure governance allegations.

Yacoob was the society’s president on the time.

He advised the Sunday Tribune that earlier than Surjoo’s matter reached the CCMA, he approached her about an inquiry into her work, and requested how a lot money she required to depart the organisation, which he was prepared to pay from his pocket.

In that manner, Yacoob believed he would stop the society from having to pay Surjoo out and incur additional prices in a CCMA listening to, and he or she would be capable to depart.

Yacoob stated the media reported his supply as a bribe.

He stated the matter went to the CCMA, and that the bribe allegation was by no means raised there. Before the matter was settled, Yacoob stated he had resigned from the society and Sarjoo was later moved to a different position throughout the organisation.

“That was not a bribe. I was not asking her to do anything immoral. That is a lie. When someone speaks like that about me and they haven’t checked their facts, I’m afraid that I am not going to favour them with a straightforward denial.”

Yacoob stated it was an enormous stretch to say to the minister that “I am an object of bribery proceedings that are still pending. That was opportunism and roguish”.

Surjoo stated: “My matter was dealt (with) at the CCMA and I am still with the organisation and I don’t want to comment any further.”

About additionally making a money supply to Govender, Yacoob stated it was additionally a “goodwill gesture”.

“I also offered Kugendire (Govender) money when I asked her questions at a board meeting because she sounded uncomfortable.

“I said I was sorry if she was uncomfortable with the questions we were asking her. I said I would give her R5000 from my own pocket to get a lawyer to be with her because we were going to ask difficult questions.” Govender declined Yacoob’s supply.

“That is not bribery on any basis.” About his mandate at CSA, Yacoob defined that officers, particularly those that earned large salaries, shouldn’t be “treated with kid gloves”.

“They must be properly held accountable for their actions.”

He defined that there have been all kinds of allegations occurring within the organisation and he was there to “clean things up”.

“You question everything and take nothing at face value. Therefore, my approach was strict and uncomplicated and bringing everyone to account.

“The terrain dictated my firm approach as there was a lot of dirty business going on and people wanted to burn the cleaning brush.”

Govender stated it might not be correct for her to touch upon the problems raised at this stage as her listening to was nonetheless pending.

“I don’t have a problem with being transparent. If the hearing is fair, I am confident that I will be exonerated of the charges against me,” Govender stated.

Yacoob stated if Malepa had known as him just a few days later, maybe he may need spoken in another way to him, however on the time of the decision the problems have been “ripe” in his head.

“My view is that journalists are powerful people who can write and do all kinds of things. Surely it is my freedom of expression, in a private phone call, to say you are a liar and rogue.

“It is my right to express my anger. He does not ask whether I was involved in a bribery investigation, but says it as a matter of fact. He could have checked with the CCMA.”

Yacoob stated when somebody lies about him, no matter whether or not he was a decide or not, his response wouldn’t be measured.

“I am a human being. I would like to see a judge who has been lied about, handle this in a measured way.”

He stated his integrity has at all times been crucial to him.

“I value my integrity more than life,” stated Yacoob.

When approached for remark, Malepa stated: “I’m not doing interviews on the issue of the judge.”

The Sports Ministry was contacted for remark and forwarded the assertion it issued earlier this week.

Sunday Tribune

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