CSA board member resigns over media censorship

Shirley Zinn (Supplied)
Shirley Zinn (Supplied)

Cape Town - A senior board member of Cricket South Africa (CSA) has resigned after five journalists had their media accreditation revoked last weekend.

CSA board member, Professor Shirley Zinn, tendered her resignation due to what she felt was 'an appalling approach in dealing with journalists'.

"I was absolutely shocked to see that and how that was authorised from a governance perspective in terms of who decided that that was the best step to follow‚” Zinn said as quoted by the Business Day website.

“The Graeme Smith story in the Sunday Times was completely out of line and in terms of the accreditation issue‚ I heard it in the media and no one communicated that to me. If that happened‚ I certainly wasn't on the list of the people who were spoken to about the matter.

"I was shocked and then I heard the Thabang radio interview on Monday morning. I can't describe to you how worrying it was in terms of how he made that call.

"Those two issues were the straw that broke the camel's back. They finished me off and I put pen to paper on Monday. I was totally horrified to find out that these things happened and I wasn't going to stand by and look the other way.”

The five cricket writers - Stuart Hess, Firdose Moonda, Kevin Borland, Telford Vice and Neil Manthorp - were banned from reporting on Mzansi Super League (MSL) clashes at the Wanderers and Newlands last weekend due to having been critical of CSA in their writings.

Zinn joined CSA in 2018 and served on the human resources and remuneration subcommittee as one of five independent directors.

Zinn recently resigned as Shoprite's lead independent director following the re-election of chairperson Christo Wiese after the majority of shareholders had voted against Wiese.

CSA came in for widespread criticism and condemnation following their decision to have the media accreditation of the five journalists revoked.

CSA's actions led to SANEF calling for an apology to be extended to the affected writers, while the South African Cricketers' Association (SACA) called on the board of directors of CSA to act decisively in order to deal with the ongoing damage being caused to the game in South Africa. 

Furthermore, Proteas Test and ODI title sponsors Standard Bank expressed their "grave concern" at the current governance of cricket in South Africa. The banking giants called an urgent meeting with CSA's top brass on Monday.

Former CSA president Norman Arendse penned a no-holds-barred open letter in which he appealed to the beleaguered sports body to act against maladministration and the banning of the journalists.

On Tuesday morning Moroe apologised to the South African National Editors' Forum (SANEF) for the "mishap" - but stopped short of saying sorry to the game's most important commodity - the players.

Later on Tuesday afternoon, Moroe released a second apology via a CSA media statement, in which he apologised to "the Board of CSA, our members, our partners and sponsors, SANEF, and the many journalists and fans".

Once again, no mention of the players was made.

Meanwhile, CSA's planned Tuesday's media briefing was postponed at the last minute until Saturday at 15:00.

The postponement statement made mention that there would be a board meeting on Saturday at which "important decisions will be made".

The statement went on to confirm that the press conference which will follow the board meeting "will be an opportunity for an open dialogue around key issues affecting the local cricket fraternity".

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