Graeme Smith cleared of racism allegations: All we know
Former Cricket South Africa (CSA) Director of Cricket, Graeme Smith, has been cleared of several racism allegations following the "outcomes of Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) commission's report". As per the findings, Smith was engaged in "prejudicial behavior" on three counts. Advocates Ngwako Maenetje SC and Michael Bishop have cleared Smith on all of them in an independent arbitration process. Here are further details.
"There was no evidentiary basis to conclude that Smith engaged in racial discrimination against Thami Tsolekile (2012-2014). There was no evidentiary basis to conclude that Smith was racially biased against black leadership at CSA. There was no evidentiary basis to conclude Smith's appointment of Mark Boucher, rather than Enoch Nkwe, as the SA Men coach (2019), amounted to unfair racial discrimination," the report concluded.
Smith was interviewed for the role of CSA's Director of Cricket in November 2019. However, he opted out eventually, citing "lack of confidence in CSA's administration". A month later, Smith was appointed for a temporary role before he took over as an independent contractor. His contract expired in March this year. Notably, Smith didn't reapply for the position.
An SJN report found out that the process of "headhunting" Smith for the DOC role despite interviewing other candidates was flawed. Since CSA's previous board had approved this process, no action was taken. In his tenure, Smith was supposed to appoint South Africa's head coach and support staff. He appoitned Boucher (head coach) along with Charl Langeveldt (bowling coach) and Justin Ontong (fielding coach).
As per the arbitration process, Smith, as CSA's Director of Cricket, didn't discriminate on the basis of race while appointing Boucher. Notably, the latter is set to face a disciplinary hearing for "gross misconduct". Boucher's former team-mate, Paul Adams, had leveled the allegations of racism against the former. Boucher is supposed to be SA's head coach until the end of the 2023 World Cup.
As per the other "tentative findings" of the SJN report, Smith, Boucher, and AB de Villiers, among others, had engaged in a prejudicial and discriminatory conduct. In the absence of definite evidences, ombudsman Dumisa Ntsebeza had recommended that a further process will be undertaken.
Graeme Smith remains the most successful captain in Test cricket. He is the only player to have led a side in over 100 Tests. In 109 Tests as captain, Smith won 53 and lost 29 (27 drawn). Overall, Smith led in 286 matches across formats. The left-handed batter racked up 9,265 and 6,989 runs in Test and ODI cricket, respectively.