Ombudsman finds Smith, Boucher and De Villiers exhibited racial prejudice


Johannesburg, December 15, 2021 (AFP) – South African cricket legends Graeme Smith, Mark Boucher and AB de Villiers were all found guilty of racist behavior in a report released Wednesday by an independent mediator.

Cricket South Africa has released a 235-page interim report by lawyer Dumisa Ntsebeza, who headed a social justice and nation-building commission to investigate allegations of racial discrimination in South African cricket.

CSA board chairman Lawson Naidoo said the board would study the report and “engage with it and its recommendations.”

Ntsebeza found that former test captain Smith’s appointment as CSA director of cricket was flawed, although he did not attribute this to racial discrimination.

But he criticized Smith’s decision to appoint Boucher as head coach of the national team ahead of Enoch Nkwe, a black coach who briefly served as director of the national team, which he said was not in line with the organization’s human resources policy.

“Mr. Smith and the CSA failed to rebut the presumption of unfair discrimination in the appointment of Mr. Boucher before Mr. Nkwe,” according to the report.

Smith was also accused of racial discrimination, along with other ASC and team officials, when he was captain of the England test team in 2012.

Following an injury to Boucher, the best batsman De Villiers was chosen as wicket keeper ahead of Thami Tsolekile, a specialist wicket keeper.

“The (ombudsman) is convinced by the argument that the CSA, its coaches and breeders have unfairly disadvantaged Mr. Tsolekile on the basis of his race.”

De Villiers also resisted the selection of Khaya Zondo, a black batsman, as he served as South Africa’s international captain ahead of a decisive game in India in 2015.

Dean Elgar, a late substitute for one-day games, was picked ahead of Zondo, who was part of the series’ original squad.

“The only reasonable conclusion is that Mr. De Villiers discriminated against Mr. Zondo on racial grounds.”

De Villiers, who announced his retirement from cricket last month, responded on social media.

“I have fully supported the goals of Cricket South Africa’s social justice and nation-building process, to ensure a level playing field in our game,” he wrote on Instagram and Twitter.

“However, throughout my career I have expressed honest opinions about cricket only based on what I thought was best for the team, never based on anyone’s race.”

Boucher was accused by former teammate Paul Adams of directing a song at post-game fines meetings in which Adams was called “shit brown **”.

The ombudsman found that Boucher revealed a “lack of sensitivity and understanding of racist undertones” and that Boucher tried to excuse the racism because it was done as a team and he does not “understand apartheid South African / discriminatory and racist history. “

Naidoo said in a press release from the ASC: “We therefore commit to reviewing the findings and recommendations with an open mind. We will review the report objectively, taking into account our social justice obligations and our duties as stewards of the game. ”

Ntsebeza noted that the commission lacked “insufficient resources” and “was operating under extremely tight deadlines”. He recommended to the CSA to appoint a permanent mediator of the transformation.

str / pb / lp


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