Graeme Smith’s lawyer claims ‘elementary flaws’ in SJN process



He mentioned that the findings launched by the report are “without any basis”

Graeme Smith‘s lawyer, David Becker, has raised issues concerning the Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) report, which was launched on Wednesday and located that Smith had engaged in prejudicial conduct. Becker, in a press release despatched out on Thursday night, questioned the process undertaken by the transformation ombudsman Dumisa Ntsebeza and mentioned there are a number of “fundamental flaws” in the SJN process, which he and Smith participated in.

Smith’s conduct as a participant and as director of cricket (DOC) have been each in the SJN proceedings, the place he confronted a number of allegations from, amongst others Thami Tsolekile. Smith responded to the allegations in a written affidavit however didn’t give oral testimony to the ombudsman. The closing report discovered that Smith had unfairly discriminated in opposition to Tsolekile on the premise of race in 2012, that Smith, in his function as DOC had demonstrated racial bias towards black directors at CSA, and that the process which led to Smith’s appointment as DOC in 2019 didn’t comply with correct HR process.

Becker particularly questioned the final two findings, calling them “without any basis,” and offering a counter-argument.

While the ombudsman report mentioned that Smith’s refusal to work below former CSA CEO Thabang Moroe, who was sacked for misconduct final yr, was proof of racial bias, Becker identified that the “the ombudsman simply ignores the fact that Smith has worked quite happily and successfully under the current CSA Acting CEO Pholetsi Moseki for the last year. He has also worked collaboratively with three black CSA Presidents since being appointed in December 2019.”

In phrases of Smith’s employment relationship with CSA, Becker argued that though Smith was head-hunted, the process of appointing him was not irregular, because the ombudsman claimed.

“As regards his appointment, Smith did not appoint himself,” the assertion learn. “The evidence clearly shows that his appointment was endorsed by the selection panel and approved by the entire CSA Board, CSA President Chris Nenzani, CFO Pholetsi Moseki, the Acting CEO, HR Head Chantal Moon, and Legal Officer & Company Secretary Welsh Gwaza.”

Becker additionally questions why the report makes no particular findings and lists its outcomes as “tentative,” contemplating their seriousness.

“For instance, how do you make far-reaching and public findings of racial prejudice against certain people and in the same breath say that they are ‘tentative’, as the ombudsman has done? How is CSA expected to implement those findings when the ombudsman has said, by his own admission, that he ‘cannot make definitive findings in an instance where the evidence of both the so-called victims and the alleged perpetrators was not tested’?”

Several sources near CSA and the SJN process advised ESPNcricinfo that by labelling the findings “tentative,” the ombudsman has left CSA in a near-impossible place as a result of it will likely be troublesome for them to take motion primarily based on the report if it’s not particular. However, insiders consider the ombudsman was cautious of coming to conclusions which might be legally challenged in the courts.

The SJN process was not a authorized process and was inquisitorial in nature, which the ombudsman mentioned didn’t permit him to cross-examine witnesses. Becker contended that was additionally incorrect and that cross-examination would have allowed the ombudsman to check the proof extra totally. “The ombudsman had the opportunity to cross examine the witnesses under the Terms of Reference and didn’t take that opportunity. It was his process,” Becker mentioned.

CSA is conscious of Becker’s assertion however should not have a response right now. “Mr Becker is entitled to raise his concerns. As a board, we are still in the process of dealing with the report,” Lawson Naidoo, CSA’s board chairperson, advised ESPNcricinfo.

Asked concerning the standing of the connection between Smith and the board, Naidoo mentioned, “Graeme remains an employee of CSA and will be treated as such.”

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent

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