Cricket South Africa (CSA) are waiting on the home affairs ministry to give the England squad permission to enter the country for three ODIs and three T20Is in November-December. South Africa is still in a "state of disaster," in response to the coronavirus pandemic and is currently at the most lenient stage of lockdown - stage 1 of 5 - which means most activity has been able to resume and borders are open in limited capacity. Anyone who wants to enter the country requires a rubber stamp from home affairs with particular focus on those from high-risk countries, which include the United Kingdom.
"We have received the request from Cricket South Africa but it has not been processed yet," Siya Qoya, a spokesperson from the ministry of home affairs told ESPNcricinfo. "We will communicate with CSA once a decision has been finalised."
Qoya confirmed that decisions "do not take too long" to be made and that some individuals from high-risk countries have been allowed into South Africa. Should approval be given, England will arrive in South Africa on November 17 and will spend 10 days quarantined at a hotel in Cape Town, while being able to train at Newlands. The South African squad will stay in the same hotel - creating a bio-bubble - with matches to be played at Newlands and Boland Park in Paarl, behind closed doors.
The series will be the first for the South African men's national team since they returned home from India in March, when the coronavirus pandemic hit. They have had series in Sri Lanka and West Indies postponed and have been unable to host India for three T20Is, which would have provided CSA with a much-needed financial shot in the arm. For now, the England tour will fill the gap, with CSA estimated to earn R70 million (US$4.2 milllion) from the series. CSA are expected to pay for all accommodation and transport fees for a touring party of about 50 members, the ECB have agreed to carry the costs of a charter flight.
If the England series is given the go-ahead, it will take place under the cloud of sports minister Nathi Mthethwa's intent to intervene in CSA's affairs unless CSA can provide him with a reason not to by October 27. On Wednesday, Mthethwa issued a statement in which he said he had been left no choice but to act according to the National Sports and Recreation Act on allegations of mismanagement, because CSA had refused to comply with the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee's (SASCOC) request for the board and executive to stand down while an investigation is held. Mthethwa has the power to no longer recognise CSA as the governing body for cricket in South Africa. CSA have been in administrative crisis throughout 2020, and are currently operating under an acting CEO, an acting president and postponed their AGM from September to December.
Apart from the England tour, no other international fixtures are confirmed for the season. Domestic cricket in South Africa is set to get underway on November 2, but the schedule has been reduced as a cost-cutting measure. The six franchises will only play seven first-class matches (instead of their usual 10) and a single-round T20 tournament (rather than matches home and away), with the Mzansi Super League cancelled for this summer.