CSA director of cricket Graeme Smith’s lawyer, David Becker, says the process followed by the Social Justice and Nation Building (SJN) hearings was flawed.
The 235-page SJN interim report was submitted to CSA by ombudsman Adv Dumisa Ntsebeza and made available to the public this week.
The report claimed procedural issues with how Smith and Proteas coach Mark Boucher were appointed at CSA, and that Smith had shown racial bias in his appointment of Boucher over Enoch Nkwe.
The report also found that former Proteas captain AB de Villiers had discriminated against batsman Khaya Zondo “on racial grounds” during a tour of India in 2015.
In a statement, Becker confirmed that “serious concerns” had been raised with CSA over the process of the report.
“The SJN process was undoubtedly an important process for South African cricket. However, CSA is going to have to consider a number of fundamental flaws in the ombud’s process which have been raised by several respondents.
“For instance, how do you make far-reaching and public findings of racial prejudice against certain people and in the same breath say that they are ‘tentative’, as the ombudsman has done? How is CSA expected to implement those findings when the ombudsman has said, by his own admission, that he ‘cannot make definitive findings in an instance where the evidence of both the so-called victims and the alleged perpetrators was not tested’?
“Why wasn’t the evidence properly tested? The ombudsman had the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses under the terms of reference and didn’t take that opportunity. It was his process.”
Smith, Boucher and De Villiers all responded in writing to the SJN, but were not present in person to be cross-examined.
“Important questions will need to be asked as to why certain respondents were not properly informed of the allegations against them, as required,” Bekker added. “It appears that several people against whom findings of racism have been made were not properly notified of the allegations against them by the office of the ombudsman,” said Becker.
“If so, this is very serious, and the findings against them will ultimately need to be withdrawn or set aside.”
Becker also refuted suggestions that Smith displayed “racial bias” in his refusal to report to then CSA CEO Thabang Moroe, who was soon dismissed by the board for incompetence.
“Some of the findings are entirely questionable and without any basis. For example, in finding that Smith’s refusal to work under Moroe ‘evinces his racial bias against black leadership at CSA’, the ombudsman simply ignores the fact that Smith has worked quite happily and successfully under the current CSA acting CEO Pholetsi Moseki for the last year.
“He has also worked collaboratively with three black CSA presidents since being appointed in December 2019.
“As regards his appointment, Smith did not appoint himself. The evidence clearly shows that his appointment was endorsed by the selection panel and approved by the entire CSA board, CSA president Chris Nenzani, CFO Pholetsi Moseki, the acting CEO, HR head chantal Moon, and legal officer and company secretary Welsh Gwaza.”
Photo: Brenton Geach/AFP via Getty Images
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