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SJN Report: Racial bias the reason Mark Boucher appointed Proteas coach ahead of Enoch Nkwe

Mark Boucher and Enoch Nkwe pictured together during their time with the Proteas. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Mark Boucher and Enoch Nkwe pictured together during their time with the Proteas. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Published Dec 15, 2021


Johannesburg - Cricket South Africa’s transformation ombudsman, Adv. Dumisa Ntsebeza found that the appointments of Graeme Smith as Director of Cricket, and Mark Boucher as the Proteas men’s team’s head coach were irregular.

Those findings were contained in the final report of the Social Justice and Nation Building project which was released publicly by CSA on Wednesday.

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The report, which runs to 235 pages, states that in the appointment of Smith, in December 2019, CSA’s former chief executive, Thabang Moroe, acted beyond the powers granted to him according to CSA’s HR Manual - which outlines the manner in which appointments must be made.

Smith provided the SJN with a written affidavit, which included a timeline outlining when he was first approached for the position in July 2019 by then CSA chief executive Thabang Moroe and includes a meeting at former cricket boss, Dr. Ali Bacher’s house - which Smith states surprised him - where Moroe and Bacher offered Smith the DoC job.

The report contends that there were various breaches of CSA’s own HR manual, and describes the interview process which took place as being a sham. While the four other candidates interviewed for the position, all provided detailed presentations, Smith only spoke to the interview panel.

The SJN apportions much of the blame to Moroe, stating that he was “biased towards Mr. Smith,” effectively, paving the way for his appointment.

On Boucher’s appointment as head coach of the national men’s team shortly before the series with England in December 2019, the SJN reports states “it is clear Mr Smith did not follow any CSA policy in appointing Mr Boucher.”

While Smith wrote that he had not been told to follow any process and in fact had received backing from CSA’s Board at the time for the appointment, the SJN explained that that support, did not absolve Smith from responsibility.

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“Mr. Smith needs to understand that he was handsomely remunerated for his position and professed to possess all the attributes for the position in question (and) one such attribute is familiarity with the governance controls in the organisation.”

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The report outlines what it views as differences between former Proteas assistant coach Enoch Nkwe, who had been interim ‘Team Director’ in 2019 before Boucher’s appointment, and how he held superior coaching credentials to Boucher, and had a similar record in terms of trophy success as a coach.

The report contends that race played a determining factor in Boucher’s appointment ahead of Nkwe. “Did Mr. Smith and CSA differentiate between black and white coaches when they appointed Mr Boucher to the head coach position? The answer to the question is in the affirmative.”

It further states that CSA “undermined its own transformation imperative in permitting the appointment of Mr Boucher ahead of Mr Nkwe.”

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“Mr Nkwe’s resignation should not really come as a surprise to CSA,” the report states. Nkwe resigned as Proteas assistant coach in August this year citing concerns about the team environment and culture.