Ex-Pirates manager jailed
Phil Setshedi (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Former Orlando Pirates soccer club manager Phil Setshedi was sentenced on Tuesday to three years' imprisonment for corruption.
The Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court imposed an additional five years' imprisonment, which was suspended.
Magistrate S Sonnenberg said there was "no such thing as a free first offence" in a response to a suggestion by defence attorney Marcello Steven that Setshedi's full sentence be suspended because he was a first-time offender.
Setshedi, 57, was convicted of corruptly paying a police official posing as the chief referee R2 000 to fix soccer matches in the Vodacom soccer tournament in June 2011.
Sonnenberg said the father of two had failed in his duty to set an example for his children.
"Young children looked up to you as a soccer legend, but even off the soccer field you have to set an example to children."
She said Setshedi had brought shame and embarrassment on his wife and family.
"Laymen call it match-fixing, but you are being sentenced for corruption, in terms of the Prevention of Corruption Act," Sonnenberg told Setshedi.
The community expected honesty and integrity from people of his age and standing, she said.
"It is not too late for you to start afresh with honesty."
It was sad, but understandable, that Setshedi's health had suffered from the trauma of the case.
"By their very nature, criminal trials are very stressful to the accused," said Sonnenberg.
Setshedi lived in the upmarket Johannesburg suburb of Sandton, and the three luxury vehicles he owned were indications that life had been good to him.
She said Setshedi had specially travelled to Cape Town in June 2011 to bribe the referee to ensure that Mpumalanga Sevutsa Stars won two matches.
Sonnenberg referred to the testimony of a referee who had received numerous bribes to fix matches, and to that of an expert involved in the Hawks' investigation, Captain Lourens Grill, who told of the extreme difficulty in exposing corruption in sport.
According to Grill, investigations were time-consuming and manpower intensive.
He had asked the court to jail Setshedi, because the international soccer community was watching the outcome of the case.
He said the SA Football Association and soccer's world governing body FIFA had committed themselves to a zero tolerance approach to corruption, and had even established a hotline in their efforts to root out the evil.
Sonnenberg said match-fixing had become an international epidemic.
She said the soccer community, national and international, expected the courts to exact revenge on their behalf, and that judicial officials were trained not to be pressured into imposing sentences that were inappropriate.