CSA backtracking on media accreditation saga

Cape Town - Cricket South Africa (CSA) insists that it in no way wants to set an agenda in terms of what the country's cricket journalists can and cannot write. 

For months now, the organisation has made headlines for all of the wrong reasons. 

These include an ongoing legal battle with the South African Cricketers Association (SACA) over a proposed domestic restructure for 2020/21, the suspension of three senior officials from the organisation for an alleged dereliction of duty, debt in the region of R650 million, the absence of a full-time director of cricket (DOC), team director and convenor of selectors, legal battles with the Western Province Cricket Association, struggles in turning the Mzansi Super League (MSL) into a lucrative product and dismal results on the field through the flagship men's Proteas side in 2019. 

Then, on Sunday, news broke that Independent cricket writer Stuart Hess had his 2019/20 CSA media accreditation revoked

CSA CEO Thabang Moroe then confirmed as much in an interview with eNCA on Sunday, saying that if Hess wanted to attend cricket matches in the MSL he could buy tickets like the rest of the public. 

By the weekend, four other South African cricket journalists - Firdose Moonda, Neil Manthorp, Kenneth Borland and Telford Vice - had also been informed that their accreditations were not active upon entry at the grounds they attended. 

Then, on Monday morning, Moroe gave a radio interview with 702's Bongani Bingwa in which he acknowledged that the accreditations had been revoked. 

"Accreditation was revoked but that does not stop journalists from being able to enter the game," he said on air. 

The interview did not go well for Moroe, with Bongwa ending the segment with "God help us all" after questioning the present running of CSA. 

Sport24 then met with CSA's head of media and communications, Thamie Mthembu, at a Newlands hotel on Monday. 

Mthembu acknowledged that CSA had identified the five journalists in question with the intention of meeting with them to discuss their ongoing coverage of the organisation, but could not confirm who had made the call to revoke the accreditation. 

"What I can say is that every journalist's accreditation should now work at the stadiums," he said.

"I acknowledge the statement attributable to our CEO and I can confirm that we would never try and place censorship on what journalists can and can't write."

According to Mthembu, all five of those journalists should now be able to attend matches without any trouble. 

Mthembu further confirmed that the disciplinary action against suspended officials Corrie van Zyl, Clive Eksteen and Naasei Appiah was ongoing and that all three individuals had sought their own legal counsel. 

In terms of the DOC role, Mthembu confirmed that CSA continued to seek a resolution as soon as possible.