Former South Africa director of cricket Graeme Smith has been cleared of racism allegations against him by two independent arbitrators.

Smith was accused of racial bias against black leadership at Cricket South Africa (CSA), discrimination against Proteas wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile and unfair racial treatment surrounding the appointment of Mark Boucher over Enoch Nkwe in 2019.

The former Proteas skipper was under review by Dumisa Ntsebeza SC after CSA's Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) process, with Ntsebeza unable to conclude on "definite findings" in December 2021.

The initial report criticised Smith and former captain AB de Villiers for selection decisions, which it said were prejudicial towards black players, allegations the pair both denied.

That led to further formal processes, with two independent arbitrators Ngwako Maenetje SC and Michael Bishop reviewing the case, before Smith was cleared of the allegations of racism.

Smith, who held the CSA director role between 2019 and 2022 before his contract ended in March this year, has also been reimbursed his costs by CSA on the advice of the arbitration.

Lawson Naidoo, chairman of the CSA Board, said after the decision: "The manner in which these issues have been dealt with and resolved by the arbitration proceedings confirms CSA's commitment to deal with the SJN issues in a manner that treats them with utmost seriousness but also ensures fairness, due process and finality.

"Now that finality on these processes has been reached, it is appropriate to recognise the extraordinary contribution that Graeme has made to South African cricket, first as the longest-serving Test captain in cricket history and then as director of cricket from 2019 to 2022.

"His role as director has been critical in rebuilding the Proteas men's team in particular and has laid a solid foundation for his successor.

"We fully appreciate that after his time as director, Graeme wants new challenges in the commercial and cricket worlds.

"He has a long career ahead of him and we very much hope that he will still work in the cricket world in appropriate capacities going forward."

CSA apologised for the unwarranted public disclosures of Smith's personal information, including his remuneration, during the SJN process, as they thanked the 41-year-old for his efforts in charge.

Pholetsi Moseki, who is CSA's chief executive, added: "On behalf of the executives, staff and players at CSA, I would like to thank Graeme for all that he did as the director of cricket.

"He put up his hand at a particularly tumultuous period for CSA and he has often gone beyond his contracted duties to assist CSA during his term."

It has been confirmed that the West Indies will officially host South Africa for the first time since 2010, with the series booked for the islands of Grenada and St Lucia.

The parties have been locked in negotiations for the past several months, with several obstacles to overcome.  The latest it is believed was a venue for the tour, which was reportedly originally set for Trinidad and Tobago.

A recent spike of COVID-19 cases has, however, forced an alteration to those plans.  The current plan will see the teams play two Tests at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in St Lucia and the T20s taking place at the National Cricket Stadium in Grenada.  The series will take place between June 10 and July 3.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) director, Graeme Smith, expressed delight to be heading back to the Caribbean, particularly in light of the difficult and uncertain times caused by the pandemic.  He reserved a special word of thanks for the countries that stepped in to host the series on relatively short notice.

 “We are extremely pleased to have the men’s team’s tour to the West Indies officially confirmed. Covid-19 has played havoc with the ICC Future Tours Programme and we are thankful to Cricket West Indies and the governments of St Lucia and Grenada for ensuring that the tour goes ahead as planned‚” Smith said.

“The hosting nations‚ in particular‚ came to the party at very short notice and Cricket South Africa would like to extend its immense gratitude to them for their enthusiasm and willingness to host us."

Graeme Smith has admitted Cricket South Africa (CSA) was left "extremely disappointed" with the decision taken by Australia to pull out of their upcoming tour.

A three-Test series was scheduled to take place in March, but Cricket Australia (CA) announced on Tuesday that those plans had been shelved due to the public health situation in South Africa amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The country was dealing with over 10,000 positive COVID-19 cases a day at the start of January and while that number has since dropped considerably, there is also a new variant of the virus.

However, having done all possible to appease safety concerns and establish protocols so the tour could take place as planned, CSA director of cricket Smith revealed the frustration at the late cancellation.

"We are extremely disappointed by the decision of CA," former Proteas captain Smith said. "CSA has been working tirelessly in recent weeks to ensure that we meet every single expectation of CA.

"This was set to be the longest tour in a BSE (bio-secure environment) comprising a three-match Test series that was scheduled to begin with Australia's arrival later in the month. So to be informed about the CA decision at the eleventh hour is frustrating."

Dr Shuaib Manjra, chief medical officer for CSA, explained how the organisation had done everything possible during the planning stage, including proposing protocols to their Australian counterparts that were "unprecedented".

The cancellation has ramifications for the inaugural ICC World Test Championship, too. New Zealand are now certain to be playing in the final later this year, where they will go up against either England, India or Australia.

Pholetsi Moseki, acting CEO for CSA, said: "It is indeed sad that after all the engagements and effort made to ensure a secure visit by our Australian counterparts, the tour has been derailed.

"CSA has incurred significant costs related to the planning stages and the cancellation of the tour represents a serious financial loss."

South Africa are currently on tour in Pakistan, with the second of two Tests set to start on Thursday in Rawalpindi.

They will also play a three-match Twenty20 series against their hosts - with all the white-ball fixtures to be staged in Lahore - before returning home in the middle of February.

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