SJN Hearings: Black players were targeted in match fixing investigation, says Thami Tsolekile
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Thami Tsolekile, said he didn’t make any reference to the 2015/16 match fixing saga in his submission to the Social Justice and Nation Building project because there wouldn’t be enough time to go through all the details.
“You would need a full three days,” said Tsolekile, who added that he had two files about the saga, which effectively ended his playing career, when he received a 12 year ban from Cricket SA, following its investigation. “I’ve made a conscious decision not to submit about the match-fixing scandal because, I’ve decided that I will deal with that matter differently, not in this forum.”
Tsolekile was testifying before the ombudsman Adv Dumisa Ntsebeza on Monday. Alviro Petersen, Ethy Mbhalati and Lonwabo Tsotsobe have all testified to the SJN about what they believe was an unfair investigation with Tsotsobe stating that players were victimised because of their race. All three of those players received sanctions of varying degrees for their roles in the scandal. Mbhalati and Tsotsobe asked the commission if the investigation can be reopened.
“One could say it is a missed opportunity,” Tsolekile said. “I know the process that we have followed there and I know the remarks that were made against me, that I was a match fixer, I took money, blah blah blah, stuff like that.
It’s been six years, being unemployed, it hasn’t been easy, it's been tough.”
“I don’t want to go back to that.”
However, Tsolekile did agree with Tsotsobe, that black players were victimised. “David Becker and Louis Cole know that a lot more other players were involved. The process itself - black players were targeted, and they were treated unfairly,” said Tsolekile.
Cole is the head of CSA’s Anti-Corruption, who led the investigation along with independent attorney, David Becker, a former head of legal at the International Cricket Council.
One of Ntsebeza’s assistants, Sandile July, emphasised that the SJN was not established to re-investigate the scandal which saw seven players sanctioned, and one, Gulam Bodi, cited as the instigator, jailed for five years.
“This forum was not set up to review the match fixing (scandal),” said July. “We were listening to the other players. It was the process that made them unhappy, which according to them is injustices that were meted out against them. We are in no way interested in dealing with the details of the match fixing.”
Tsolekile said he would make the recordings of interviews he did on Robert Marawa’s radio show available to the SJN, in order to provide context about the scandal. Ntsebeza said he respected Tsolekile’s decision not to speak about the topic, but added he would appreciate copies of the interviews with Marawa.