Cape Town - Cricket South Africa (CSA) says the suspension of three senior employees is directly linked to a payment dispute surrounding last year's Mzansi Super League (MSL).
The South African Cricketers Association (SACA) is currently in the process of taking CSA to court to try and prevent a proposed domestic restructure that would see the franchise system scrapped and the domestic game extended to 12 provincial sides, but these suspensions are to do with the 2018 MSL.
SACA, through their CEO Tony Irish, claimed last week that CSA owed the South African Professional Cricketers Trust R2.5 million dating back to a commercial agreement around player rights that was signed in November 2018.
The agreement was geared towards ensuring that the players in last year's MSL would benefit financially from any revenue generated from their own rights including sponsorships, image rights and media appearances.
At the time, CSA would not respond to the dispute.
Now, a week later, they say they are conducting their own internal investigation and three senior employees - acting director of cricket Corrie van Zyl, chief operating officer Naasei Appiah and commercial manager Clive Eksteen - have all been suspended.
It is the latest development to paint a picture of unstable times at CSA under the leadership of CEO Thabang Moroe.
"The Board and Management of Cricket South Africa (CSA) has recently become aware of an unfortunate situation involving players and player contracts, through player intermediary, the South African Cricketers Association (SACA) in which speculation and indeed allegations of dereliction were levelled against CSA, following alleged non-payment of player fees, stemming from the Mzansi Super League arrangement, in 2018," the organisation said in a statement.
"CSA is in the process of investigating this matter to determine the extent to which certain CSA employees were or were not derelict in fulfilling their duties. This is in line with the effort of ensuring that the principle of accountability is applied equally, fairly and without fear or favour throughout the organisation.
"Whilst the investigation of this matter is in progress, 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."
The statement added that the money owed to SACA would now be paid.
"While CSA regrets this unfortunate situation, as an organisation that promotes good governance and excellence in performance, we are pleased to report that, once uncovered, CSA successfully and quickly addressed this situation with SACA. In this regard an agreement was wherein all fees due to players will be transferred to SACA with immediate effect and through this mutual agreement, CSA and SACA have averted all potential interruptions to the game of cricket.
"CSA assures the players, our stakeholders and all cricket fans at large that any kind of lapse in its processes which adversely impacts the game of cricket will be addressed accordingly."
Moroe, meanwhile, stood by the decision.
"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," he 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 second edition of the MSL is set to start on November 8.