CSA board to meet on Saturday to discuss SJN hearings report

17 December 2021 - 16:45
By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Proteas coach Mark Boucher.
Image: Supplied Proteas coach Mark Boucher.

The Cricket SA (CSA) board is expected to meet virtually on Saturday to discuss the report of the social justice and nation-building (SJN) hearings that found that the organisation had discriminated against players along racial lines.

Some of the main takeaways from the report are that the appointments of Graeme Smith and Mark Boucher were flawed and the 2015-16 RamSlam match-fixing investigation was not racist.

The hearings, headed by ombudsman and advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, recommended improved internal and confidential grievance procedures and that mediation procedures be put in place as a means of giving aggrieved players the platform to air their frustrations.

An insider confirmed that the agenda for Saturday’s meeting is the SJN hearings and that the appointments of CSA director of cricket Smith and Proteas coach Boucher will be under the microscope.

“The issue of Graeme and Boucher is a hot potato and it is going to be high on the agenda. Members are going to have to find a delicate balancing act because Graeme’s contract is coming to an end in about three months’ time and with regards to Boucher we have India here [on their incoming tour],” the insider said.

“Do you fire Graeme and expose yourself to possible drawn-out litigation, or let his contract run until the end, and who takes over if you suspend or also get rid of Boucher? These are some of the issues that are going to be discussed.”

Since the report's release there has been strong public sentiment to sack Smith and Boucher but CSA chairperson Lawson Naidoo said this week that they would examine the report and comment later.

“The board is engaging with the report and going through it in detail. We have made it clear from the very beginning that we support this process because it is a critical process to help us take SA cricket forward,” Naidoo said.

“We will be engaging with the report and once we have done so holistically, we will then publicly comment on what steps we are going to take.”

Former CSA board member Dr Eugenia Kula-Ameyaw, who was instrumental in setting up the hearings, said it is up to the current board to carry out the report's recommendations.

“I think now that the due process is complete, it is up to the board to exercise their authority on the findings and recommendations,” Kula-Ameyaw said.

“My concern is inconsistency, which the ombudsman also cited. Not acting when it's a certain race will render the board to be overlooking racism, which the ombudsman was set to investigate.

“Under the circumstances, especially reduced time frame and large and diverse number of witnesses, the ombudsman tried. OTO (the Office of the Transformation Ombudsman) needed to evaluate the whole evidence at his disposal, check agreement, contradictions and make recommendations and that’s not an easy process.”