Cricket South Africa CEO Thabang Moroe has “unreservedly” apologised for the revocation of several South African journalists’ accreditation, effectively preventing them from covering cricket in the country.
The row had seemed to be over what Moroe perceived as unfair reporting of goings on within South African cricket’s governing body. “Their access was revoked because we’ve been trying on numerous occasions to sit with them, so that we can say guys we are not happy with the way you are representing us in the public,” he had told Radio 702 in Johannesburg. Neil Manthorp, Wisden Cricket Monthly’s South Africa correspondent and one of those who had their accreditations revoked, disputed the claims that anyone had tried to contact him.
Nobody from CSA has contacted me. No fact has been disputed or corrected in any article I have written in the last year. Never been invited to any meeting. The gateman at Newlands told me my accreditation has been cancelled. https://t.co/0Ed4V8BSQw
— Neil Manthorp (@NeilManthorp) December 2, 2019
Thami Mthembu, CSA’s head of communications, had supported Moroe’s initial position. “The journalists did not write about cricket but something else,” he told Kaya FM Talk. “The journalists would come to the stadium and not write about the game but rather about the CEO of CSA [Moroe] for example.”
However, with Moroe now calling the decision to revoke accreditation an “error in judgement”, it appears the saga might be coming to an end.
[ON AIR] @OfficialCSA Head of Communication, Thami Mthembu says the journalists did not write about cricket but something else. The journalists would come to the stadium and not write about the game but rather about the CEO of CSA for example #KayaBreakfast
— Kaya FM Talk (@KayaFMTalk) December 2, 2019
“I unreservedly apologise on behalf of Cricket South Africa for the erroneous process that led to journalists having accreditation revoked,” he said. “I am proud to live in a free and fair South Africa where each and every one of us has the ability to compliment and criticise any organisation, including my own for my and/or my team’s efforts. Too many people have made the ultimate sacrifice for the privilege of free speech and I’d like to apologise for any harm that was caused during our accreditation error in judgement.”
He also expressed regret to his organisation’s sponsors for a tweet from the official CSA Twitter account which seemed to imply that they were in support of CSA’s controversial position. “I would also like to apologise to our sponsors for the ambiguity of the CSA tweet yesterday where we thanked our sponsors for their support,” he said. “It wasn’t our intention for that tweet to infer support for the accreditation blunder but instead to thank them for our longstanding partnerships.”
Despite the acrimony, Moroe indicated his intention to maintain his present position. “It is understandable that my job as CEO is always under the microscope,” he said. “It’s not just for ethical reasons but for my love of cricket that I adhere to due process, especially during uncomfortable moments. This is evident with the ways in which we are working through a formal process in terms of our recent suspensions, and there seems to be consternation about the appointment of our new director of cricket role.”