A massive explosion took place in the Lebanese capital of Beirut on Tuesday, killing over 100 people with injuries to thousands. A similar metaphorical explosion has hit cricket in South Africa over the last while.
Now, I am not the “in-the-know” type person, certainly not as knowledgeable as the likes of Telford Vice, Firdose Moonda, Neil Manthorp or Ken Borland. But when I opened my email and read the Cricket South Africa (CSA) media releases pertaining to “attacks on the integrity of the match fixing investigations”, my jaw hit the floor with an expression of what the fudge is going on?
It seems that the world-wide Black Lives Matters movement has really kicked into high gear within the cricketing fraternity with the likes of Makhaya Ntini, Robin Peterson and Ashwell Prince making claims of racial disharmony during their tenures with the team.
Calls then emanated as to why the top positions within CSA were filled with white individuals, from acting CEO Jacques Faul (who is now – sadly – stepping down) to Director of Cricket Graeme Smith, who then appointed his ‘buddies’ Mark Boucher as head coach and Jacques Kallis as batting coach – positions all ratified by a black-majority board.
CSA president Chris Nenzani stated that the appointments were above board and procedures followed.
Now it seems that those who were implicated in the 2015 Ram Slam match-fixing saga, and subsequently banned from cricket, have come out five years later stating that there was a racial bias in the investigation, which was headed by retired Judge Bernard Ngoepe, a former Judge President of the Gauteng North and South Courts.
Former wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile made claims that “he was not presented with any evidence and did not receive any charges”, however this was refuted by Judge Ngoepe, who said “this is not the truth. Mr Tsolekile received a formal charge sheet as is required under the Code. He was also presented with extensive evidence in the presence of his lawyer,” as stated in the CSA Media Release.
There was also claims that Vaughn van Jaarsveld and Craig Alexander were both approached by Gulam Bodi, the mastermind behind the match-fixing scandal, and that they failed to report such approach, which was investigated at the time.
CSA confirmed that both Van Jaarsveld and Alexander notified the South African Cricketers Association (SACA) and the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) within days of Bodi’s approach to fix a match.
I then noticed some activity on Twitter this morning when former Proteas opening batsman, Alviro Petersen launched into a Twitter tirade stating that “new evidence had come to light that would show the investigation was biased”, and gave CSA until 10am to get in touch with him otherwise he would go public with the evidence.
CSA then released another media statement via email to various publications – including my inbox – stating that “CSA followed due process in all aspects of the investigations into that incident, and all cricket players that were implicated where provided with legal advice and representation by the players’ union.”
“If there is credible evidence that players who signed admission of guilt documents did so under duress or coercion, without full due process, or if the process was compromised in any way, CSA will ensure that the relevant bodies give these issues appropriate attention, and will review the cases as appropriate.”
CSA continued in their press release, stating that “it has no influence or bearing on any cases investigated by the Hawks, on any findings on cases prosecuted by the National Prosecuting Authority, or on the findings of judges. Should any party wish to appeal the findings of a court of law, they would need to proceed through the appropriate legal processes.”
The issue that boggles my mind is why someone like Petersen would launch a public Twitter-spat with many people, making claims of ‘new evidence’ and ‘threatening to go public if CSA did not contact him’? Surely, anyone with any amount of dignity and ethics would approach the relevant authorities and go “hey dude, I have come across some evidence that proves otherwise in the corruption investigation and I think you should really look into this!”.
This act of public attention-seeking speaks to something else than new evidence – in my humble opinion.
When I interviewed Petersen at the launch of the Ram Slam T20 Challenge in 2012/2013 (MiWay had been the previous sponsor) at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, Petersen took all the glory for the way the Highveld Lions had been playing.
He never gave coach Geoffrey Toyana any credit with the signings made, style of play or success the team were having. In my few engagements with Toyana, he has always struck me as a very humble person, but with a very good cricketing mind and when he was overlooked for the top Proteas job in favour of Ottis Gibson, it shocked me.
The way Petersen conducted himself on Twitter seemed very unbecoming, writing his tweets in capital letters, replying to people and making statements like “your apartheid mates” and using language like “coming with your shit”, while threatening people with legal action as well as criticizing media publications.
This all seems to me that someone wants to jump on the bandwagon to stay relevant. If someone has been treated unfairly, deal with the situation. Let the relevant authorities handle it.
Don’t go twittering all over the place and get aggressive and defensive when people respond to your tweets. All you are doing is acting like a petulant child.
Many people have been berated for their tweets but some are excused because it comes from a certain angle.