Former Cricket South Africa (CSA) director and Captain Graeme Smith has been cleared of all the racism charges levied against him in an independent arbitration process following the outcomes of the Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) commission’s report.
Smith was implicated in the decision not to select wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile after Boucher was forced to retire due to injury. Tsolekile was considered next in line after Boucher, but makeshift wicketkeeper De Villiers was handed the gloves instead. It was said that he was racially biased against black leadership at CSA and in the choice of Mark Boucher as head coach of the national team.
The arbitration award found that there was no evidentiary basis that Smith had engaged in racial discrimination:
• Against former wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile in the period 2012-2014, when Tsolekile was nationally contracted but was not picked for the Test team
• Against black leadership at CSA after it was alleged that he refused to work with former CEO Thabang Moroe
• In the appointment of Mark Boucher over Enoch Nkwe as national men’s coach in 2019.
CSA has been ordered to pay all the costs associated with the arbitration process.
In a statement, Smith said: “I’m grateful that my name has finally been cleared. I’ve always given South African cricket my utmost, as a player, captain and administrator over the last 20 years. So to hear these baseless allegations of racism being made has been extremely difficult, both for me and my family.”
“It has been exhausting and distracting, not least because South African cricket has also been going through a well-publicized rebuilding process which has required a lot of attention. I am just pleased that we have now gone through a robust arbitration process before independent arbitrators and I have been completely vindicated.”