Thatscricket - News - SA Opposition want King to continue probe

Published: Monday, February 26, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Cape Town: Judge Edwin King's decision to terminate the work of the Commission of Inquiry into cricket match-fixing work continues to be mired in controversy in South Africa with opposition parties wanting it to run its full course.Although the government has said it agreed with King's request on Thursday to end hearings and write a final report, opposition parties would like to meet Sports Minister Ngconde Balfour to discuss the issue.The Freedom Front has requested an urgent meeting with Balfour to discuss what it called "a suspicion" that there is more behind the closure than the reasons advanced by King. "South African cricket will always be under a dark cloud of suspicion if the Commission does not fully complete its work," said Freedom Front spokesman Leon Louw."The abrupt end to the Commission raises many questions and causes a perception that cricket irregularities are being covered up." King had said there was no evidence that anyone else in South African cricket was implicated in any irregularities. The Democratic Party (DA) asked the government to appoint a replacement for King if the concern was about a challenge by Cronje's lawyers to the validity of his chairmanship under South Africa's constitutional law. "The end of the Commission leaves a question mark about the integrity and future of organised sport in the country," said Nick Clelland, the DA spokesman on sport.King had said during his announcement on Thursday that his chief reason for requesting President Thabo Mbeki to end the Commission was legal action instituted by Cronje's lawyers. The South African government had established the Commission after Indian police uncovered a telephonic match-fixing conversation between the now banned-for-life former South African captain Hansie Cronje and Indian bookmaker Sanjeev Chawla.But while politicians are unhappy, former cricketers have welcomed the closure. Former wicket-keeper and now commercial agent for the national team Dave Richardson said there was nothing more than what the Commission had heard so far. "To continue with the Commission would just be a waste of time and money," Richardson told the daily 'Beeld'."It's just a pity that the delaying tactics used by Cronje's lawyers led to the disbanding of the Commission," Richardson said, adding, there was no new evidence and King could rather have ended the Commission on that score.Former captain Kepler Wessels said he was "not surprised" about the disbanding of the Commission. "I didn't think it would go any further (than it has already). It would also not cause any more damage than has been done already," he said.Former pace bowler Fanie de Villiers said there was no reason for the Commission's continued existence. "They uncovered what was required, and for that we are grateful. The public has lost interest a long time ago and if a good thing goes on for too long, it is not good any longer," De Villiers said. India Abroad News Service

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