TELFORD VICE, Bulawayo
THE spotlight on the dark art of match-fixing in SA cricket is set to glow brightly at a press conference at Newlands on Monday.
A Cricket SA (CSA) notification on Sunday said the independent chairperson of their anti-corruption unit, retired judge Bernard Ngoepe, would brief the media.
But hopes that the probe had reached its conclusion would seem false – CSA said Ngoepe and their chief executive, Haroon Lorgat, would “provide an update on the ongoing investigation”.
CSA said in November last year that they were “carrying out an investigation after gathering intelligence that an international syndicate is attempting to corrupt domestic cricket” in SA.
At issue were matches in the 2015 franchise T20 competition.
In December CSA fingered former SA player Gulam Bodi as acting as an “intermediary” between players and fixers.
In January – after co-operating with the inquiry – he was banned from cricket for 20 years.
But Bodi’s is the only name officially blackened in the scandal.
Others have had to endure character assassination by rumour while the investigation, led by David Becker, a former International Cricket Council head of legal, has left no pebble unturned in the cause of thoroughness.
All the while CSA, citing the importance of confidentiality, have starved their most important stakeholders, the public, of information on the saga.
So what Ngoepe will say on Monday is unclear.
Sources report bans for at least two players and leniency for another, who was part of the plot but has been cleared in return for coming clean, are in the offing.
The guilty should know that Ngoepe, a former judge president of the North Gauteng and South Gauteng High Courts who has served as an acting judge in the Constitutional Court, is no pushover.
“I grew up in a village where so many children dropped out of school,” he was quoted as saying in an interview with the Limpopo Leader in 2009.
“I could easily have been one of them. Maybe as a result of being sent to boarding school and associating with children from many other places I became sufficiently interested to continue.”
That suggests that the extenuating circumstances of being lured into corruption in the wake of shoddy treatment by cricket’s establishment will cut little ice with Ngoepe.