Former Proteas and Highveld Lions left-arm bowler Lonwabo Tsotsobe has apologised “to cricket lovers all over the world” after Cricket South Africa imposed an eight-year ban on the 33 year old on Tuesday.
The banning of Tsotsobe follows a lengthy investigation and the previous imposition by CSA in January 2016 of a 20-year ban on former Proteas, Lions and Titans batsman Gulam Bodi, after Bodi had admitted to charges of contriving or attempting to fix matches in 2015.
Tsotsobe, at one stage the No 1 ranked ODI bowler in the world, played five Tests, 61 ODIs and 23 T20Is for South Africa in a promising career that began in January 2009. His last appearances for the national team came in 2014.
He played 61 first-class matches, 144 List A games and 77 T20s over his career; the last of those domestic games were in December 2015.
“I wish to apologise to cricket lovers all over the world.
"I was, at the time, in a very vulnerable financial state and this dilemma too easily persuaded me to participate in spot- fixing,” Tsotsobe said.
“There are no words to describe the regret I have in relation to my actions and I hope that the cricket world could consider my apology and understand my deepest feeling of remorse.”
Tsotsobe has admitted to one charge of contriving to fix a match; two of failing to disclose to the CSA Anti-Corruption Officer the full details of an approach to engage in corrupt conduct; two charges of failing to disclose full details of matters evidencing a breach of the Code by another participant; three charges of failing or refusing to co-operate with an investigation (including failing to provide accurate and complete information); and two charges of obstructing or delaying the investigation by destroying evidence and concealing information that was relevant to the investigation.
“Mr Tsotsobe has ultimately admitted his mistakes in contravening the CSA Anti-Corruption Code and, while no fix actually took place, it is clear that he was active in plans to participate in spot-fixing and hence the sanction imposed on him,” said CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat.
Tsotsobe is the sixth player to be apprehended after Jean Symes, Ethy Mbhalati, Pumelela Matshikwe, Thami Tsolekile and Alviro Petersen all admitted contraventions of the code and been banned for periods ranging between two to 12 years.
The ban prevents Tsotsobe from participating in, or being involved in any capacity in, any international or domestic match or any other kind of function, event or activity (other than authorised anti-corruption education or rehabilitation programmes) that is authorised, organised, sanctioned, recognised or supported in any way by CSA, the ICC, a National Cricket Federation or any member of a National Cricket Federation.
Cricket South Africa said the ban would run for eight years from April 24, 2017, the date that Tsotsobe was provisionally suspended.
It seems though that CSA’s investigation which also engaged with the SAPS, the Hawks and independent forensic experts, can finally close after Tsotsobe’s suspension.
“The investigative team have completed a thorough and far-reaching investigation.
"I am satisfied that all the culprits have been duly prosecuted under the Code and, unless we receive or uncover any new or previously undisclosed information, we believe we can now bring this matter to a close,” said the independent chairperson of CSA’s Anti-Corruption Unit and former Judge President of the North and South Gauteng High Courts, Bernard Ngoepe.
“We were fortunate that in this case the reporting structures that CSA and Saca have put in place worked. However, we must remain vigilant to the continuing threat of corrupt activity in domestic and international cricket.”