CSA has removed former South Africa batsman HD Ackerman as the host of its upcoming annual awards ceremony in a bid to to avoid "further potential negative comments" around his announcement that he was emigrating to Australia in September. Ackerman is the fourth South African involved in the country's cricket structures to move to Australia or New Zealand in the last two months.
"In view of certain negative comments on social media following HD's Facebook post that he was leaving South Africa for Australia, we have decided to avoid any further potential negative comments around HD hosting the live CSA Awards," Altaaf Kazi, CSA spokesperson, told Sport24. "We decided to replace him and have no further comments to make in this regard."
CSA has not revealed who it has appointed as Ackerman's replacement.
Ackerman had announced his decision to emigrate through a post on Facebook: "It is with a heavy heart that I have to let all my friends know that Kerryn Ackerman, James, Tannah and I will be moving to Perth, Australia in September. It has caused many sleepless nights and even more tears but it is a decision that we have reached as a family and feel it is the best one we can make for our little ones at this time.
"South Africa has so much potential, however in my entire life I don't think I have ever seen anything more common than something or someone fail to reach their potential. I fear this may be the case with my beautiful country. I truly hope that the decision we are making is the right one for us and I truly hope that South Africa does go on to reach its true potential and that crime decreases, corruption slows (as all countries have this problem) and an equal opportunity is there for all."
His employer, South African broadcaster SuperSport, confirmed Ackerman's departure to take up a role as director of coaching at Guildford Grammar School in Perth. The broadcaster said Ackerman had left open the possibility of freelancing.
On Thursday, Ackerman revealed on Facebook that he had been removed from hosting the awards, which he has been part of for several years. "Wow, just been pulled off hosting the Cricket South Africa awards on the 26th because a few people on social media feel my move to Australia is because I'm racist. Forget the fact my wife's sister had just moved to Brisbane and that my wife's parents have just moved to Perth, or that I got a job offer in Perth that included a school bursary for my son, those reasons are not good enough. Wow, wow, wow."
Social media reaction to Ackerman's move was largely encouraging, particularly from former players. Former South Africa fast bowler Brett Schultz said on Twitter: "And SA loses another incredible talent, as a player in his day and behind the microphone in the modern game."
The only post, at the time of writing this article, with a racial undertone came from one user who accused Ackerman of being "anti-transformation". Ackerman responded by telling the user, "That's where you are soooo wrong."
Ackerman played 220 first-class and 230 List A games in a 16-year career that included stints at two provincial and four franchise sides. After retiring, he turned to commentary and coaching. He was involved with South Africa A and recently accompanied some South African players on a spin camp to India.
While Ackerman is relocating to Perth, three other South African cricket administrators - Dolphins chief executive Pete de Wet, national team logistics manager Riaan Muller, and Titans' coach Rob Walter - have all accepted jobs in New Zealand.