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Retired ConCourt Judge Zak Yacoob Resigns as Head of Crisis-hit NPO


Retired Constitutional Court judge Zak Yacoob has tendered his resignation as president of the KZN Blind and Deaf Society.

His resignation comes less than a month after he offered money to persuade axed director Shamilla Surjoo to drop her case at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

Yacoob stepped into the role of acting director after Surjoo was dismissed for gross negligence, breach of fiduciary duties and loss of trust after a financial officer allegedly transferred R12m into her personal accounts.

On Monday the society’s public relations officer, Denika Pillay, confirmed Yacoob’s resignation.

“We acknowledge the wonderful contribution that justice Zak Yacoob has made during his tenure as president and wish him well in the future. The KZN Blind and Deaf Society is now focusing on rebuilding the society and embracing the challenges ahead,” she said.

Pillay did not respond to questions on the reason for Yacoob’s resignation – nor on who would lead the organisation now that it was without a president and a director.

Yacoob refused to comment on his resignation. “I know you’re calling about my resignation, but I don’t want to talk about it,” he told TimesLIVE.

Meanwhile, despite Yacoob’s attempts, Surjoo is proceeding with her CCMA case.

While Surjoo, who is legally blind, was not implicated in the alleged fraud and claimed to have blown the whistle on the financial officer, an independent disciplinary committee dismissed her on the grounds that it had occurred under her watch.

This led to Surjoo lodging a complaint with the CCMA in order to be reinstated.

When Yacoob asked her during the call how much money she required to “go away”, Surjoo replied that she was a person of integrity and could not be bought.

Three days later, on March 4, Yacoob sent a letter of apology to Surjoo via her attorney. In the letter to Cox Yeats Attorneys, Yacoob said he was embarrassed and also upset with himself for giving into his frustrations about what had gone on at the society and his ongoing discoveries.

Yacoob stated in the letter that he saw no reason for private mediation. “The society has lost enough money in this debacle and cannot spend more in a private arbitration. Please make any concrete solutions your client may have for settlement so that I can also discuss this with the board,” he wrote.

“We are a public organisation and must do everything transparently in terms of our justice system.”

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