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SJN hears that CSA Board oversaw appointment of Smith as Director of Cricket

Director of Cricket Graeme Smith

FILE - Director of Cricket Graeme Smith. Photo: Werner Beukes/SAPA

Published Oct 29, 2021

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Johannesburg – Graeme Smith was ‘head hunted’ for the position of Director of Cricket before an official process – that included advertising the position or an interview was conducted – had occurred, the Social Justice and Nation Building hearing was told on Friday.

Cricket SA’s acting chief executive, Pholetsi Moseki outlined how in 2019 the organisation’s then Board of Directors deviated from its own HR policy in the appointment of Smith, which was initially on an interim basis in December that year, before later making him permanent in April 2020.

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Smith’s appointment has been highlighted by a few witnesses who’ve appeared before the Transformation Ombudsman, Adv Dumisa Ntsebeza, with those witnesses implying that Smith got the job because he is white.

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Moseki told the SJN, that CSA does have a specific process that is supposed to be followed in filling vacancies – that include advertising internally and externally – but that the Board can choose to ignore that policy. “All the policies of the company – the custodians for those policies, is the board. So basically the board is allowed to deviate from any policies provided there’s reasonable reasons for doing so,” Moseki told the SJN.

In the case of Smith’s appointment various documents provided to the SJN as part of Cricket SA’s affidavit indicate that Smith and the former CEO, Thabang Moroe had been in contact about Smith filling the position from late August in 2019. The post was first publicly advertised in October that year.

Only from then, did CSA follow the process as set out in its HR manual; shortlisting candidates, interviewing those candidates, after which a sub-committee then makes a recommendation to the Board.

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Smith was one of four candidates interviewed for the position, by a panel that included Moroe and CSA’s former Board member Jack Madiseng.

In emails provided to the SJN, Moroe had communicated with Smith informing him that he was the preferred candidate following the interviews, even inviting Smith to a meeting in November 2019 to thrash out details of his contract.

Led through his testimony by CSA’s lawyer, Aslam Moosajee, Moseki said it was his “feeling,” that Smith was basically “headhunted,” and that processes involving advertising and interviews which followed, was not appropriate.

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One of Ntsebeza’s assistants, Sandile July, pointed out that there wasn’t an official document from the Board during that period indicating that it had said, that management should deviate from the process and it was dangerous for Moseki to make an assumption. Moseki contended it was his opinion, but using various emails for reference said there was evidence of Moroe talking to Smith before the post was advertised.

Smith’s lack of administrative experience has been raised at the SJN by some witnesses, indicating, his appointment was racially biased.

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Moseki said that is not how the Board at the time saw it. Referencing the revoking of accreditation of some members of the media, Standard Bank ending its sponsorship as a result and threats from other sponsors to cancel their agreements with CSA, Moseki said the organisation was in deep trouble at the start of December 2019.

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“The reputation of the company was severely damaged during that period. The Board, including the president Chris Nenzani and the management believed that Smith’s appointment would assist to revive the company’s tarnished reputation, and develop cricket in SA based purely (based) on his experience as a world class international cricketer.”

Moseki acknowledged that CSA’s final agreement appointing Smith permanently, as an “independent contractor” was finalised in April last year.

@shockerhess

IOL Sport

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