There was no proof that the investigations into the 2016 domestic match-fixing scandal was based on the race of the players, the Social Justice and Nation Building report found.
Johannesburg – There was no proof that the investigations into the 2016 domestic match-fixing scandal was based on the race of the players, the Social Justice and Nation Building report found.
Alviro Petersen, Thami Tsolekile, Ethy Mbhalati and Lonwabo Tsostsobe had all used the hearings to air their grievances over the match-fixing scandal that occurred in the 2015/16 RamSlam T20 tournament for which they were all sanctioned.
“Having considered testimonies from both complainants and respondents who appeared before the Ombudsman regarding the manner in which the match-fixing investigation was conducted, the (Office of the Transformation Ombudsman) is of the view that race played no part in the investigation,” the report noted.
“The OTO could not find any evidence supporting the contention that black players were targeted during the investigation. As such the allegation that black players were discriminated against on the basis of their race during the investigation was not proven. This was the narrow question, the OTO was called upon to decide.”
Tsolekile, who was banned from the sport for 12 years for his involvement in the scandal, had told the SJN, that he felt he was targeted because of his race. Mbhalati and Tsotsobe, even went so far as to ask the Transformation Ombudsman, Adv. Dumisa Ntsebeza if the investigation would be reopened.
However, comprehensive replies from Louis Cole, the head of CSA Anti-Corruption Unit and lawyer David Becker, who assisted him with the investigation, made clear that the four players weren’t targeted nor were they scrutinised on account of their race.
In one dramatic sequence, Cole played a 30-minute long video that included scenes of Tsolekile discussing fixing a portion of the match, the players who would be involved and how much money he would be paid.
Ntsebeza had noted during the hearings, that he felt too much time had been spent on the match fixing saga. While the oral submissions made to the SJN – by the players and then Cole, Becker and others – about the investigation had run for a number of days, the findings about the investigation occupy just more than one page in the 235 page report, released on Wednesday.
However, the four players’ testimony has had a detrimental effect on CSA’s efforts in fighting corruption, Cole and Andrew Breetzke, the chief executive of the SA Cricketers Association, told the hearings.
“There’s been a perception that has been created by the complainants at the SJN, that we basically conducted a rogue and a racist investigation,” Cole told the hearings in October.