Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) embattled Chief Executive, Thabang Moroe, has personally apologised to the journalists who had their accreditation revoked on Sunday.
The South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) has noted the apology but is adamant that such behaviour is a direct threat to media freedom, and should never be repeated.
It’s just gone from bad to worse for Cricket South Africa over the past few days.
On Sunday the accreditation of five senior cricket scribes was suddenly and without explanation revoked, preventing them from covering Mzansi Super League matches in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Adding fuel to the fire Moroe and CSA’s head of communications Thamie Mthembu went on record, saying that they withdrew these journalists’ stadium accreditation because they did not like what they had been reporting on about the governing body.
They have been subsequently re-instated and in an attempt to do some serious damage control, CSA CEO Moroe, personally apologised to four of the five.
“We got to stress that this doesn’t take away what happened on Sunday because if we accept it and ignore the events that happened it means there is an open door for it to happen in the future and not just by CSA but by any organisation that chooses to barr journalists or revoke accreditation. If you don’t like the work a journalist is doing there are avenues you can take. You can write your own piece, you can hold a presser, you can go to the BCCSA or the Ombudsman, but revoking their accreditation can never be accepted. While we note the apology and appreciate it such actions are totally unacceptable and should never happen again,” says Katy Katopodis who is the Sanef Deputy Chairperson.
The utter disarray within the corridors of CSA also spells bad news for South Africa’s national team. A major sponsor of the Proteas Test and ODI side has expressed grave concern over CSA’s governance, with the start of a full tour against England just over three weeks away.
“The Proteas is a great brand but it’s being damaged, its being eroded in its value and that has a knock on effect when dealing with sponsors, how much are they willing to put in to a brand that is being abused. It’s diabolical here is the body here is the body in charge of cricket in South Africa and we are hearing so many people mentioned. Where is the board? Where are the independent directors? Where is their fiduciary responsibility? We are not seeing it at all,” says Jeremy Sampson who is the Managing Director brand finance.
Former CSA President Norman Arendse has also severely criticised the body for failing in their responsibilities. For now the message to the governing body is pretty clear, in the best interests of cricket in South Africa, get your house in order.