Cricket South Africa has suspended interim director of cricket Corrie van Zyl, chief operating officer Naasei Appiah, and commercial manager Clive Eksteen pending an inquiry into alleged dereliction of duty over the non-payment of commercial rights fees during last year's Mzansi Super League.
CSA did not name the trio, but confirmed in a statement that "employees who are alleged to have been involved in this matter have been placed on precautionary suspension until the investigation is completed, following which disciplinary action could be instituted against the affected employees". ESPNcricinfo has independently confirmed from several sources that van Zyl, Appiah and Eksteen are the members of the organisation, who have been suspended.
Last week, the South African Cricketers' Association (SACA) launched a formal dispute over unpaid fees understood to be in the region of Rand 2.4 million (approx. US$ 164,000). SACA alleged that CSA had breached an agreement to pay money for use of the players' commercial rights, which includes their images, for the inaugural edition of the MSL. SACA sought mediation on the matter.
CSA has acknowledged that the money was not initially paid but once the dispute was launched, claim to have "successfully and quickly" addressed the situation. The board confirmed: "All fees due to players will be transferred to SACA with immediate effect." However, the CSA has also launched an investigation into why the money was not paid, resulting in the suspensions.
"It is our expectation that all our staff members, including third-party stakeholders who are associated with the CSA brand should protect the reputation of CSA and the sport of cricket at all times" Thabang Moroe
"CSA wants to reassure all cricket fans and all cricket stakeholders that our organisation and indeed our staff adhere to the highest ethical standards in all our dealings and that consistency and accountability remains uppermost in all our processes and procedures," Thabang Moroe, the CSA CEO said. "It is our expectation that all our staff members, including third-party stakeholders who are associated with the CSA brand should protect the reputation of CSA and the sport of cricket at all times."
The suspensions come ten days before the start of the second edition of the MSL, a project all three have worked on, with CSA still in a state of flux over management of the national men's team. It's also worth noting that while the three have been suspended over a Rand 2.4 million affair, the board itself is in debt to the tune of Rand 654 million (approx. US$ 44.6 million).
Following the post-World Cup decision to restructure the coaching positions, van Zyl was serving in an interim capacity as director of cricket and last week confirmed his intention to apply for the role permanently.
Appiah is believed to have fallen out with Moroe, which may have led to his removal. Eksteen was suspended previously for his role in the Sonny-Bill Williams mask saga during Australia's tour to South Africa in 2018 but has been back at work since May that year.
CSA is also attempting to put out several other fires. Separately, SACA have taken it court over a proposed domestic restructure, the Western Province Cricket Association has also taken legal action against CSA after the board placed it under administration and CSA has launched an inquiry into the Cape Cobras' failure to meet transformation targets.
SACA did not immediately respond to requests for comment but is expected to issue a statement later on Wednesday.