Johann Muller, the man who led the Sharks to their first Currie Cup title in 12 years, will wear the captain's armband once more as coach John Plumtree looks to take domestic form into the Super 14 arena.
"It was not an easy decision," former Swansea coach Plumtree told The Mercury newspaper in South Africa.
"I have huge respect for both of them (Muller and Smit). They are outstanding leaders."
Despite overlooking Smit for his side's captaincy, Plumtree confirmed that the hooker cum tight-head prop would remain a huge part of the Sharks' Super 14 ambitions.
Plumtree also suggested that the decision could ultimately benefit the world champion Springboks as they continue their preparations for their first Lions tour since the 2-1 series defeat in 1997.
"The way to look at it is that John and Johann are close mates, and to an extent will lead together anyway.
"And it also gives John some freedom to concentrate on leading the Springboks in a very big year for them."