Phil Charles update

March 7, 2010

Regular readers will be aware of the Phil Charles suspension issue. The attached NRF press release has come to my attention; it seems that both the accusation and defense sides have been heard, and the Chairman of the hearing has now retired to consider his verdict … due at the end of the coming week.

Initially many of us had assumed that the hearing would be a one day affair. Then it gradually became clear that it would be spread over multiple days, followed by this consideration period. It seemed to be pretty formal and legalistic, but with the defense case heard BEFORE the accusations, which seems quite bizarre. Halfway through, there was an attempted intervention by the Science Minister, Naledi Pandor, as described in this piece in the Mail and Guardian. This shows I guess that the shocked international reaction has made a difference.

But at the end of the day it may come down to judgement by senior NRF staff. None of us know exactly what happened, or what the NRF rule book says; just that firing an honourable figure like Charles on a technicality would be a mistake – politically, managerially, and morally.

Cross fingers for the final run.

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