Advocate Ntsebeza ’uncomfortable’ with match fixing saga being raised at SJN Hearings
Share this article:
Johannesburg – The Transformation Ombudsman, Adv. Dumisa Ntsebeza said on Tuesday he was concerned about the way 2015/16 match fixing saga had been brought up at the Social Justice and Nation Building hearings.
The last two days have seen testimony from Louis Cole, the head of Cricket SA’s Anti-Corruption unit, and David Becker, who assisted him in the investigation of that scandal. Seven players were sanctioned, one of whom, Gulam Bodi, the “intermediary” between the illegal gambling syndicates and the players, was jailed for five years, in terms of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.
“I was very much uncomfortable when this whole match fixing thing came even when the so-called victims were testifying,” Ntsebeza told Becker, as the latter was giving his testimony on Tuesday.
The match fixing scandal came before the SJN when Thami Tsolekile, Alviro Petersen, Ethy Mbhalati and Lonwabo Tsotsobe, who were all charged and sanctioned for their roles in the scandal, testified about the investigation in July. Tsolekile, Mbhalati and Tsotsobe all claimed that they were targeted because they were black, while Peterson along with Mbhalati and Tsotsobe said they were intimidated and forced into signing plea bargains.
Their testimonies have been disputed by Becker and Cole, through meticulous testimony, often highlighting point by point, how the investigation arrived at its conclusion to charge and sanction the players.
However Cole was questioned about the relevance of some of his testimony, in particular an explosive 30 minute video shown Tuesday in which clips of interviews the investigators did with the players – and in one instance involving Tsolekile, him talking about how and who would be involved in a fix – was presented at the hearings.
One of Ntsebeza’s assistants, Sandile July, questioned the relevance of the video. Cole’s legal assistant, Aslam Moosajee, said it was important to provide context, which would help the SJN commissioners to understand how the charges and sanctions which were meted out, weren’t racially motivated.
“We always need to bear in mind that I have been given a task to establish two things; gender based discrimination (and) race based discrimination,” Ntsebeza told Becker on Wednesday.
“Whilst I appreciate that there is a need to put context or to situate whatever one is going to be testifying about, in a particular context, I must not be lost in the rendition of the evidence as to how at the end all of what I have been told shows unfair discrimination or absence thereof on a race basis or unfair discrimination on a gender basis. Those essentially are what I am charged to investigate.”
In response, Becker said he was concerned he wasn’t being given the same kind of opportunity to respond, as the players had been granted when they testified. “These allegations that have been made against me are very far-reaching allegations, I need to be able to address them,” he said.
Ntsebeza allowed Becker to continue with his testimony, while being cognisant of the time constraints placed on the commission.
Becker will conclude his testimony on Wednesday morning when he deals with allegations made by Tsotsobe.
The SA Cricketers Association – the players union – Cricket SA and the new chairman of CSA’s Board of Directors, Lawson Naidoo, will also appear before the SJN this week.