CAPE TOWN: Former South Africa Test player Thami Tsolekile is among four players banned from cricket on Monday for his part in a match-fixing scandal in the local Twenty20 competition.
Tsolekile was banned for 12 years by Cricket South Africa (CSA) for “contriving to fix a match or matches in the 2015 RAM SLAM” as well as “obstructing or delaying the investigation by destroying evidence that was relevant to the investigation.”
Fast bowler Pumelela Matshikwe and batsman Jean Symes, who both played under Tsolekile at the Lions franchise in the RAM SLAM competition, were banned for ten and seven years respectively.
Titans fast bowler Ethy Mbhalati also received a 10-year ban.
Matshikwe, Mbhalati and Symes all admitted to accepting money to influence matches in the competition and failing “to disclose details of an approach to engage in corrupt conduct”.
CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat said the investigation is ongoing, and more players could be sanctioned.
“It is our stated position that any form of corruption in the game will be dealt with severely,” Lorgat stated at a media briefing at Newlands cricket ground on Monday.
“We will leave no stone unturned and we will do everything in our power to protect the integrity of the game.”
Two other South Africa internationals have been implicated in the investigation by media reports since January, when CSA banned former Proteas batsman Gulam Bodi for 20 years after he admitted to being an intermediary for international betting syndicates.
Lorgat refused to give comment on those reports while the investigation is ongoing.
ICC Chief Executive commends CSA
International Cricket Council (ICC) commended praised CSA for handing bans to the players involved in match-fixing.
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson, in a statement issued by the cricket's governing body said: “I would like to commend my colleagues at Cricket South Africa for conducting such a thorough investigation and for working in partnership with the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit. Shared intelligence and cooperation is vital if we are to continue to drive corruption out of our sport. What is particularly satisfying to note is that it appears that any intended wrongdoing was disrupted before it happened, meaning the domestic games in question went ahead without any act of corruption being committed.
“The sanctions are rightly strong and, I hope, will act as a deterrent to anyone thinking about getting involved in criminal activity of this nature whether at international or domestic level. Both the intermediary and four of the players have accepted the sanctions and contributed significantly to the investigation. Under the ICC’s regulatory framework, these bans will be extended to prohibit these individuals from competing at international level or in any other domestic league anywhere in the world.
“I would also like to place on record my sincere thanks to those who reported their concerns to the cricketing authorities in the first instance and who were therefore the catalyst for the whole investigation. Without honest players doing the right thing our job would be even harder.”