CSA to order inquiry into conduct of Graeme Smith and Mark Boucher

Graeme Smith

After reviewing the contents of the Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) report, Cricket South Africa will be launching an official inquiry on Graeme Smith and Mark Boucher, who happen to be the director of cricket and national men’s head coach respectively. While the inquiry will take place early in 2022, it will be conducted by independent legal professionals.

Both, Smith, as well as Boucher, will hold their positions and will continue to perform their duties for the upcoming home series against India, which starts on December 26. While the SJN reports were made public on Wednesday, it made tentative findings that the former Proteas players were involved in the conduct, that was prejudicial and discriminatory, in terms of race.

Nevertheless, the ombudsman, Dumisa Ntsebeza, failed to make conclusive findings and thus, recommended a further process be undertaken, which the board will take up. An important point to be noted is the fact that the former Proteas captain and keeper aren’t the only individuals who will be investigated. However, both of them are the most high profile people among those, who have allegedly been involved in discriminatory conduct with respect to race.

The Board has done so mindful of its duty to treat allegations of racism or discrimination: CSA

“The Board has decided to institute formal inquiries into CSA employees, suppliers or contractors who are implicated by the SJN report,” said a CSA statement, which was issued on Monday morning as quoted by ESPNcricinfo. “The Board has done so mindful of its duty to treat allegations of racism or discrimination with the utmost seriousness and in a manner that ensures fairness and due process in terms of South Africa’s labour legislation and the Constitution,” it further said.

However, it is to be noted that this inquiry also gives an opportunity to those who have allegedly acted in a biased manner, an opportunity to respond. Although Smith and Boucher have submitted written affidavits to the ombudsman, they did not appear to give oral evidence.

“We hope this will give implicated parties a fair opportunity to be heard so that finality can be achieved, and any final findings can then be acted on,” said Lawson Naidoo, CSA board chair.

CSA will be announcing further steps it intends to take, in order to transform cricket, alongside the SJN report in the new year. A few suggestions included a review of the pay structure, to ensure reserve players during tours are properly compensated with, as well as a focus on grassroots development. Another significant recommendation included the appointment of a permanent ombudsman.