SJN report: Cricket South Africa racially discriminated against players

The report recommends the appointment of a permanent ombudsman with proper funding and resources to handle race and gender-based complaints.

The report stated that former captain and current director Graeme Smith, current head coach Mark Boucher and former captain AB de Villiers were all involved in racially discriminatory behaviour.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) racially discriminated against players, according to the final report of the Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) Commission.

According to ESPNCricinfo, ombudsman Dumisa Ntsebeza submitted a 235-page document to CSA concluding that the administration, as well as former captain and current director Graeme Smith, current head coach Mark Boucher and former captain AB de Villiers were all involved in racially discriminatory behaviour.

The report recommended the appointment of a permanent ombudsman with proper funding and resources to handle race and gender-based complaints. It also suggests CSA to have an anonymous grievance policy.

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However, the report does not mention any consideration for compensation for those who have suffered racial discrimination but recommends that a permanent office considers if any compensation needs to be paid.

Findings on star trio

Major findings of the report include incidents involving Smith, Boucher and de Villiers.

Former wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile was ignored for selection for the national side when Boucher was about to retire in 2012. Boucher was to retire at the end of the England tour that year, but an eye injury at the beginning of the same ended his career.

However, the CSA handed the wicketkeeper's position to AB de Villiers instead of Tsolekile till 2014 before Quinton de Kock made his debut.

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According to ESPNCricinfo, the report reads, "The decision of the panel was totally irrational and showed clear signs of systemic racism. CSA, Mr Graeme Smith and some selectors at the time really failed Mr Tsolekile and many black players of this time in many ways."

Former left arm spinner Paul Adams had testified that he had been nicknamed "b**** s***" by his national teammates including Boucher. Boucher admitted that he and some others used the slur in a song.

During South Africa's 2015 ODI series against India, JP Duminy had got injured before the final but Khaya Zondo, a squad member, was ignored for selection and instead, Dean Elgar, who was supposed to play in the Tests, was flown in early into the squad.

Hussein Manack, the tour selector at the time, testified that the then ODI skipper AB de Villiers pressured him to select Elgar over Zondo.

CSA told ESPNCricinfo that the SJN process, which was initially supposed to finish in four months ended up lasting over six months - costing the organisation R7.5 million (US$500,000). However, the board maintained that the process was both necessary and productive.

The board will engage with the report further in 2022. However, no one is being punished immediately.

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