Cricket South Africa (CSA) has named international player Vaughn van Jaarsveld and domestic veteran Craig Alexander as whistle-blowers in the 2015-16 domestic T20 match-fixing saga, which saw seven players, including four former internationals, banned for between two and 20 years.
Alviro Petersen, Gulam Bodi, Thami Tsolekile, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Ethy Mbhalati, Jean Symes and Pumelela Matshikwe were banned for breaches of CSA's anti-corruption code following an 18-month investigation. All players accepted their bans but this week, Tsolekile claimed other players, including van Jaarsveld, whose last of five appearances for South Africa came in 2009, were involved in wrongdoing and were not punished because of their race.
"The first guy that was approached by Gulam Bodi was Vaughan van Jaarsveld. He was approached at North West during the Africa T20. Vaughn never disclosed the approach. When he was asked by the investigating officer he said yes he was approached and David Becker and Louis Cole, because Vaughn is a white player, they defended him," Tsolekile told Marawa Sports Worldwide, which airs on radio stations Metro FM and Radio 2000.
CSA has denied that there was any discrimination and defended the integrity of the investigation, which included keeping van Jaarsveld and Alexander, who is coloured, anonymous.
"The allegation that the investigation deliberately targeted black players must be rejected. Both white and black players were investigated and charged, based on the evidence that was collected and presented," Judge Bernard Ngoepe, who carried out the investigation for CSA's Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), said. "Both Vaughn and Craig must be commended for doing the right thing. They acted with courage and integrity, notwithstanding the pressure that was placed upon them. CSA undertook to protect the identity of these players during the investigation in their own interest and that of their families. This process is important as the ACU relies on the goodwill and responsibility of players to come forward when they are approached."
Tsolekile also named Robbie Frylinck as untouched by the investigation, for allegedly fixing a match during the now-defunct Champions League T20, which CSA said was not revealed during the investigation.
"Bodi told the investigating officers, and it's on my affidavit, Robbie Frylinck did a game during the Champions League in India. When I asked the independent officers they said they will follow it up but no one has ever heard about Robbie Frylinck. He is an ex-Proteas player and he is still playing," Tsolekile said. "And then, I had a call from a white coach. I am not going to mention his name."
CSA confirmed that Frylinck was identified and requested by Bodi to be part of his fixing plans, but there was no evidence to support that Frylinck was involved in any way. "The allegation of match-fixing during the Champions League by Mr Frylinck was never mentioned by Mr Tsolelike during his interviews with ACU. Both Mr Alexander and Van Jaarsveld reported to the ACU that Mr Bodi had mentioned this as part of his approach," Louis Cole, CSA's anti-corruption officer, said. "Although that relates to a separate tournament outside South Africa and falls under the jurisdiction of the ICC, it was referred to the ICC ACU for investigation.
"At no stage prior to the Ram Slam investigation did Mr Tsolekile or any other player provide any evidence to substantiate this claim as required by the Code. According to Mr Bodi, he requested Mr van Jaarsveld to recruit Mr Frylinck to participate in the match-fixing scheme. This aspect was thoroughly investigated, including interviewing one of the bookmakers in India, and no evidence was uncovered to support the possibility that Mr Frylinck had been recruited."
An additional claim made by Tsolekile was that his admission of guilt along with those of other players of colour involved in the saga was coerced from them by lawyers provided by the South African Cricketers' Association (SACA), who, according to him, did not act in their best interests.
"SACA provided us with lawyers and convinced us to accept the charges. According to my lawyer it could be too expensive for SACA to go to a tribunal," Tsolekile said. "I met with SACA and I told them I wasn't happy with the investigation because it was targeting black players. I told SACA, 'give me a good lawyer'. They agreed. A month later, there is a guy that I don't even know. Lourens van Zyl. He was supposed to protect me. He never had an interest in me."
CSA's statement denied Tsolekile's accusation that players were persuaded to accept charges.
"At no time did any of the players or their respective attorneys submit that they were coerced into admitting their guilt or signing their Sanction Agreements. They did so willingly and, in fact, were consulted on, and provided input into, the respective press releases announcing confirmation of the offences to which they had admitted," the statement read.
ESPNcricinfo understands that SACA paid for Tsolekile's legal counsel, as well as that of some of the others, and the players' body is expected to make a statement clarifying their position in due course.
Tsolekile is the second of the seven banned players to have indicated there is more to the match-fixing saga than what is already known. In recent weeks, Mbhalati wrote on social media, suggesting he would reveal "who else" was approached by Bodi, and revealing his own experiences of racial discrimination.
And I will be sharing as well the all match fixing saga stories, untold or not shared or written on news papers, tv, social media what really happened, who else did gulam approached as well the names that u saw 2015/16 its not only us a lot were not mentioned and investigated.— ethy mbhalati (@ethy81) July 12, 2020
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent