JOHANNESBURG: Former Cricket South Africa (CSA) Director of Cricket and captain Graeme Smith has been cleared of racism allegations against him following the outcome of the board's Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) commission's report.
In December last year, a 235-page report submitted by the SJN Commission head Dumisa Ntsebeza had accused Smith, current head coach Mark Boucher and former skipper AB de Villiers, among others of engaging in racial discrimination.
The Ombudsman's SJN report had made various "tentative findings" regarding allegations of discrimination and racism. However, the Ombudsman had indicated that he was not in a position to make "definite findings" and had recommended that a further process be undertaken, following which CSA launched a formal inquiry.
The report had alleged that Smith had discriminated against the black players by not selecting them in the national team. After a full arbitration process, advocates Ngwako Maenetje SC and Michael Bishop cleared the former skipper of all the three account he was charged for. "There was no evidentiary basis to conclude that Mr Smith engaged in racial discrimination against Mr Thami Tsolekile during the period 2012-2014," the CSA statement read.
"2.There was no evidentiary basis to conclude that Mr Smith was racially biased against black leadership at CSA; and "3. There was no evidentiary basis to conclude Mr Smith's appointment of Mr Mark Boucher, rather than Mr Enoch Nkwe, as coach of the men's Proteas team in 2019 amounted to unfair racial discrimination," it added.
Lawson Naidoo, Chair of the CSA Board, commented: "The manner in which these issues have been dealt with and resolved by the arbitration proceedings confirms CSA's commitment to deal with the SJN issues in a manner that treats them with utmost seriousness but also ensures fairness, due process and finality."
Smith's contract as the Director of Cricket ended, as per his original contract term, at the end of March 2022 and CSA has publicly advertised the position. "We fully appreciate that after his time as the DoC, Graeme wants new challenges in the commercial and cricket worlds. He has a long career ahead of him and we very much hope that he will still work in the cricket world in appropriate capacities going forward," Naidoo added.