South Africa apologise to Australia on Sonny Bill Williams mask incident


The photograph, taken on the first day of the second test in Port Elizabeth on Friday, shows Cricket South Africa's commercial and marketing head, Clive Eksteen, and communications head Altaaf Kazi standing and smiling with three men wearing masks with the face of New Zealand rugby worldwide Sonny Bill Williams. Both officials are under investigation for associating themselves with the unsavoury attempt to embarrass Warner and wife Candice, who had attended day one at St George's Park with the couple's two children.

Williams, of course, is a Rugby player from New Zealand and the same man with whom Warner's wife Candice had an infamous toilet tryst in a Sydney bar 11 years ago, much before she met the Aussie vice-captain.

In a statement issued on Saturday, Cricket South Africa distanced itself from the action of the officials, marketing manager Clive Eksteen and communications manager Altaaf Kazi.

Off-field drama aside, Warner put in a solid first-innings display notching up 63 as Australia were bowled out for 243 on the first day of the second Test.

The statement said CSA had taken "immediate precautionary steps" against the officials and that there would be an internal disciplinary process.

According to Fairfax Media, the Australian camp were aware of the masks going into the first day of the Test, and asked that they be banned.

Candice Warner has unfairly been dragged through the mud
Candice Warner has unfairly been dragged through the mud

The left-hander was fined 15 per cent of his match fee in 2014 for accusing AB de Villiers of ball tampering at the same venue.

CSA's statement quoted president Chris Nenzani as saying‚ "On behalf of CSA I extend my honest apologies to the board of Cricket Australia‚ its officials‚ team management‚ players and their families".

Initially, stadium security had refused to allow them in because of what Kazi called a "misunderstanding", though it is not clear on whose instructions the security were initially acting.

Security complied - only for Eksteen and Kazi to overrule them after fans complained. "They said 'let's take a photo with you guys", Kazi told SMH.

Meanwhile, CSA had reiterated that freedom of expression will be respected, within the limits of their own guidelines for spectator behaviour, which does not tolerate any racism, sexism or derogatory comments.

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