Graeme Smith’s appointment under scrutiny at Cricket SA hearings
Process was flawed, former board member tells transformation inquiry
Graeme Smith’s appointment as Cricket SA’s director of cricket came under the spotlight this week at the organisation’s transformation hearings.
The hearings started on Monday and are part of Cricket SA’s transformation drive — the social justice and nation building project — which was established to investigate racial discrimination within the organisation and recommend remedial action.
Smith was appointed director of cricket in December 2019‚ initially in an acting role‚ and got the job on a full-time basis in April 2020.
Giving testimony on the first day of the transformation public hearings, former board member Eugenia Kula-Ameyaw presented a 17-page document which alleged the process to appoint Smith was flawed.
“The contract between Cricket SA and Smith has no signature date and was signed on behalf of Cricket SA by the acting CEO, Jacques Faul.
“The agreement does not have the signature of the company secretary, who was required to countersign the agreement together with the acting CEO, and was not presented to the company secretary for signature‚” the document reads.
But Faul said he could not remember if company secretary Welsh Gwaza had to countersign the contract or not.
“It is usually not a requirement for a company secretary to sign but I cannot recall if it was the case with Smith‚” Faul said.
Gwaza‚ who was suspended in December on various charges‚ including gross insubordination and breaches of the Companies Act‚ was subsequently dismissed in June.
According to the dossier‚ Smith was interviewed with three other candidates‚ who made presentations‚ and was the second candidate to be interviewed on November 8. But the former Proteas captain was the only one who did not do a presentation.
Kula-Ameyaw argued that “if one person comes with a presentation, the rest then all have to come with a presentation”.
The document says: “The panel‚ in their deliberation‚ all felt that there was a level of disrespect and arrogance on the part of Smith ... and tabled their concerns regarding Smith’s shortcomings.”
The document shows that Smith was preferred over the other three candidates largely based on his commercial influence and cricketing background.
Kula-Ameyaw also alleged that Smith’s annual salary spiked from an approved R4m to R5.4m.
“[The] R4m was agreed upon. There is not a board resolution and no-one remembers who approved the R5.4m‚” Kula-Ameyaw said. “But if it was a black person who wasn’t following processes‚ it would have made the headlines and gone for a forensic investigation.”
Faul‚ however‚ said that there was a contract for Smith’s consideration and that the former captain was approached by Cricket SA.
“There were discussions on his salary for the extended contract but at the end the board approved his salary and I did not attend that meeting. The interview panel must have been done by Chantel Moon [former head of human resources] or Thabang Moroe.”
The document presented by Kula-Ameyaw cautioned that there may have been a lapse in governance in Smith’s salary hike.
It details how Smith turned down an annual R3m that was offered to him initially and how Cricket SA came back with an improved draft package of R4m. The approved R4m contract was shared with Smith on November 25 2019 and was approved at a special meeting of the remuneration committee.
Erstwhile CEO Moroe was suspended on December 6 and Faul replaced him in an acting capacity the following day.
Three days later, on December 10‚ Faul‚ as acting CEO‚ sent an e-mail to the executive management team with Smith’s contract that had a new amount of R5.4m‚ with several clauses that were in the previous draft removed.
But Faul said he was not involved in the salary negations. “I did not negotiate with him on his [Smith’s] salary. This was done prior to my appointment‚” Faul said.