The hearing is the result of Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) chairperson Dumisa Ntsebeza’s findings that Smith and current Proteas head coach Mark Boucher’s appointments were procedurally “flawed”.
Among Smith’s first decisions when appointed as director of cricket back in 2019 was to appoint his former team-mate Boucher on a four-year contract ahead of England’s tour to South Africa.
Smith’s contract with CSA expires at the end of March and with the position set to be advertised, it’s expected that he will part ways with Cricket South Africa.
Recently, it was revealed tha Boucher and Smith could not be suspended without opening CSA up to litigation.
In a dramatic statement released earlier this year, CSA confirmed that Boucher had been charged with “gross misconduct”, which ultimately could lead to his dismissal, something that his employers seem to be pushing for.
Part of the findings (which are available on the CSA website) revealed that the Ombudsman also found the appointments of Smith and Boucher to be “flawed from a procedural perspective”.
Initially, there was real confusion when a press release was initially sent out suggesting Boucher and Smith had been suspended, only for this to be retracted, and a statement with a different headline was then disseminated.
However, CSA has since conceded that the two former Proteas legends were legally appointed by the former board and there is now no basis to suspend them.
In a presentation to Parliament’s portfolio committee on sport, the Daily Maverick reports that current CSA chairperson Lawson Naidoo exonerated the new board, whose members took up their positions last June.
“The director of cricket and head coach were appointed in December 2019 under the previous board. It is clear from the [SJN] report that there were irregularities in those processes. Those appointments were subsequently endorsed and ratified by that board. Our hands are tied in terms of those processes,” Naidoo said.
Meanwhile, Naidoo told the committee that CSA would follow due process in all the legal processes.
“I can assure the portfolio committee that the board took legal advice on whether that [suspension] was possible and we received the legal opinion from two senior lawyers.
“They advised us that there was no legal basis to suspend Mark Boucher and Graeme Smith. The board took a unanimous decision not to suspend because it would open us up to unnecessary litigation.”
Further formal inquiries will take place later this year, and will investigate the conduct of Boucher and Smith. The Ombudsman’s Report included findings that the duo had acted in a prejudicial or discriminatory manner.
Boucher, Smith could be set to exit the scene
Although much of the focus has fallen on Boucher, who insists he is “looking forward to dealing with and defending these allegations“, Smith will also have to face the music.
Recently speaking on the Robert Marawa Sports show, Naidoo confirmed there would be an “open process” of transparency when it came to the director of cricket position.
“With regards to Graeme Smith’s contract ending in March this year, the position of Director of Cricket will be advertised and there will be an open process,” Naidoo commented.
Naidoo has also said the respective legal teams are still communicating to finalise Smith’s disciplinary procedure.