Former Proteas batsman Gulam Bodi will have to wait until May before hearing his fate after court proceedings were halted this week.
Bodi faces a minimum of 15 years behind bars after pleading guilty to eight charges of corruption relating to match-fixing.
The former Titans, Lions and Dolphins cricketer appeared in the Pretoria specialised Commercial Crimes Court on Monday, where sentencing was set to take place.
However, magistrate Nicola Setshogoe was forced to delay sentencing when Bodi’s lawyer withdrew from the case.
“Sentencing procedures were meant to get under way today, but unfortunately I had to withdraw as Bodi’s attorney of record due to a number of reasons,” said Sinenhlanhla Mnguni, Bodi’s former lawyer.
“Bodi’s financial position, especially with the ban, means that it is very difficult for him to retain the services of a private attorney, so it’s something that didn’t come as a surprise to him.”
Bodi is being charged under the little-known Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, which makes provision for the prosecution of corrupt behaviour in sporting events.
The act was introduced after the 2000 match-fixing saga involving the late Hansie Cronje.
In January 2016, Bodi was suspended by Cricket SA (CSA) for 20 years for his part in contriving to fix matches in the 2015 edition of the Ram Slam Challenge, the country’s premier T20 competition.
He was banned from participating in, or being involved in any capacity in any international or domestic match or any other kind of function, event or activity that was 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.
Six other players, Alviro Petersen, Thami Tsolekile, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Jean Symes, Pumi Matshikwe and Ethy Mbhalati were also implicated in the match-fixing scandal of 2015 and could be jailed too.
“The court had no issue with the postponements as this is not uncommon in courts, it is something that happens regularly. Legal costs can be quite expensive especially if one has no income with which to pay for these services.
“My understanding is that Bodi’s family have been able to procure an attorney to assist him with now moving forward. His family has stepped in to assist him.”
In an interview with Bodi in November last year, the former batsman expressed remorse for his actions.
“It has been a very tough few years,” he told the Saturday Star. “I’ve been banned for 20 years. That’s already a long sentence. So for me not to be able to do something I loved my entire life has been terribly hard.
“I haven’t really settled in the last three years. It’s been a constant battle.
“Just recently I managed to get a job, and after three years of running around and struggling, things started slowly looking a bit better, and now this comes up.
“It’s completely shattered me,” he said .
Bodi said he took full responsibility for his actions, but admitted he was battling to deal with the consequences.
“They pulled me out of school when I was just 16 and put me in a cricket academy.
“I don’t even have an education background to fall back on, so it’s been a real battle. This is going to greatly affect my job and my family, because nobody wants to be associated with a criminal,” he said.