Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent
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Thabang Moroe, the chief executive of Cricket South Africa, has been suspended with immediate effect - with full pay - following allegations of misconduct. An investigation into his actions, which will include an independent forensic audit, is expected to be conducted soon.
Chris Nenzani, the CSA president, has been tasked with appointing an acting chief executive for the duration of Moroe's suspension. Nenzani has been mandated to look at all options, including holding discussions with David Richardson, the former South Africa cricketer who was ICC chief executive till recently, to gauge his interest in getting involved with the CSA.
ESPNcricinfo understands that former chief executive Haroon Lorgat, Moroe's predecessor, and former acting CEO Jacques Faul, have already been approached by several provincial presidents, but neither has heard from Nenzani yet.
Moroe's suspension comes after five days of mounting pressure on CSA's administration. There have been calls from several quarters for Moroe and the CSA Board to step down in the wake of a full-blown crisis spanning management, player and media relations, and financial affairs.
The catalyst for the recent sequence of events was the revoking of accreditation of five journalists on Sunday during the Mzansi Super League. No reason was given for the sanction but on Monday morning, Moroe told a national radio station that the board was unhappy with the reporters' coverage of CSA.
The reports ranged from CSA's disputes with SACA, including a court case over a proposed restructure of domestic cricket, the delay in appointing a director of cricket, which former captain Graeme Smith was being lined up for, the non-existence of a selection panel just weeks before a series against England, and CSA's mounting expenses - and debts - including that of running the MSL.
Taken together, this has left South African cricket in a state of turmoil, which will be discussed at a special sitting of the Board on Saturday, where it is hoped that clarity will be offered on key positions ahead of England's visit.
Of particular concern is the position of director of cricket. Smith's initial reluctance, and eventual withdrawal, was understood to be largely due to Moroe's presence, and with Moroe suspended, Smith may be more willing to reconsider. However, there are less than three weeks before the Boxing Day Test against England, so decisions need to be taken swiftly.
CSA has also interviewed former national selector Hussein Manack and suspended interim director of cricket Corrie van Zyl for the director of cricket position, and former selection convener Linda Zondi, former international Monde Zondeki, and current Jozi Stars selections convener Patrick Moroney for the role of convener of selectors.
Those interviews were conducted with Moroe at the helm, and including members of the Board who have since resigned such as Dawn Makhobo, who walked away from CSA on Friday morning.
A whirlwind of events this morning also revealed that CSA has suspended three other members of staff - financial manager Ziyanda Nkuta, procurement manager Lundi Maja, and administrator Dalene Nolan.
That brought the total number of suspended employees to seven, with van Zyl, chief operating officer Naasei Appiah, and head of sales and sponsorship Clive Eksteen sidelined last month for alleged dereliction of duty relating to a delayed payment of commercial rights fees to SACA, from last year's MSL.
Support for van Zyl, Appiah and Eksteen has been widespread, particularly from SACA, which claimed Moroe was privy to communication over the MSL payment and complicit in its delay. SACA has since said that there has been a second commercial rights violation, this time concerning a fantasy game for this year's MSL, for which CSA had used players' images they did not have rights to.
On Wednesday, SACA said its members would consider a players' strike in response to CSA's lack of engagement, and while industrial action remains a possibility, it will not take place during the series against England.
"SACA re-iterates however that industrial action by the players should be viewed only as a very last resort. We also wish to reassure cricket fans, and other cricket stakeholders, that SACA will not embark on industrial action with the players during the upcoming England series. We are very aware of the importance of this series to the Proteas and to England, to the many fans from both countries and to the media and commercial partners," Tony Irish, SACA's outgoing CEO, said in a statement.
At a board meeting on Friday, SACA also called for Moroe and the CSA Board to step, an independent investigation into the crisis to be conducted, and an interim committee to be put in place to perform Board duties until a new Board is in place.
"It is abundantly clear that there is no confidence, from any quarter amongst cricket stakeholders, in the CSA Board," Irish said. "No one on the Board can say that he, or she, was unaware of what has been unfolding over at least the last year. It has all been happening, in many respects even publicly under the Board's very nose, and in some instances with Board support."
Three independent board directors, Professor Shirley Zinn, Iqbal Khan and Mokhobo have resigned, leaving two more - Steve Cornelius and Marius Schoeman - as well as the six presidents from the affiliated provinces - Beresford Williams, Zola Thamae, Tebogo Siko, Donovan May, Jack Madiseng and Angelo Carolissen. Their futures could well be decided on Saturday.