Steve Smith has been suspended for the fourth Test in Johannesburg by the ICC after he was charged by the head of the governing body for "conduct contrary to the spirit of the game".
Smith was charged by ICC chief executive David Richardson, fined 100 per cent of his match fee and given a one-Test ban. He will have four demerit points on his record.
Smith had already stood down from the captaincy for the remainder of the third Test, while Cricket Australia has launched an internal investigation to determine any further sanctions.
David Warner has also stood down as vice-captain, but he has not been hit with any ICC sanctions. Tim Paine was installed as interim captain for the Cape Town match, which Australia lost by 322 runs.
Opening batsman Cameron Bancroft, who was caught trying to alter the condition of the ball on day three of the match, was fined 75 per cent of his match fee and handed three demerit points. It means the ICC has cleared him to play in the fourth Test
"The decision made by the leadership group of the Australian team to act in this way is clearly contrary to the spirit of the game, risks causing significant damage to the integrity of the match, the players and the sport itself and is therefore 'serious' in nature," Richardson said.
"As captain Steve Smith must take full responsibility for the actions of his players and it is appropriate that he be suspended.
"The game needs to have a hard look at itself. In recent weeks we have seen incidents of ugly sledging, send-offs, dissent against umpires' decisions, a walk-off, ball tampering and some ordinary off-field behaviour.
"The ICC needs to do more to prevent poor behavior and better police the spirit of the game, defining more clearly what is expected of players and enforcing the regulations in a consistent fashion.
"In addition and most importantly, Member countries need to show more accountability for their teams' conduct.
"Winning is important but not at the expense of the spirit of the game which is intrinsic and precious to the sport of cricket. We have to raise the bar across all areas."
Both Smith and Bancroft have accepted their sanctions.
The incident that led to the charges being laid took place during South Africa's innings on Saturday afternoon when Bancroft was seen on television holding a foreign object while rubbing the ball, before hiding the object in his pocket, then inside his trousers.
As soon as the incident was shown on the big screen, the player was questioned in the presence of his captain by the two on-field umpires, Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong, who, along with third umpire Ian Gould and fourth umpire Allahudien Palekar, later charged Bancroft.
The umpires inspected the ball at that time and elected not to replace the ball and award a five-run penalty as they could not see any marks on the ball that suggested that its condition had been changed as a direct result of Bancroft's actions. The umpires, though, agreed that Bancroft's actions were likely to alter the condition of the ball and he was therefore charged.
The plan to alter the condition of the ball had been made at the lunch break on day three between senior players from Australia without the consent of the coaching staff, according to Smith.
Bancroft, who was in the vicinity of the senior players at lunch, was tasked to use the foreign item - a piece of yellow tape that was used to collect chunks of dislodged pitch - and was caught doing so.
Match referee Andy Pycroft said: "To carry a foreign object on to the field of play with the intention of changing the condition of the ball to gain an unfair advantage over your opponent is against not only the Laws, but the Spirit of the game as well.
"That said, I acknowledge that Cameron has accepted responsibility for his actions by pleading guilty to the charge and apologising publicly. As a young player starting out in international cricket, I hope the lessons learned from this episode will strongly influence the way he plays the game during the rest of his career."
Meanwhile, amid media reports Smith had been sacked from the captaincy of his IPL club, the Rajasthan Royals, the franchise's executive chariman Ranjit Barthakur released a statement.
"We have been made aware of the controversy of ball tampering in the ongoing Australia – South Africa series and await further instructions from BCCI, before we make any announcement," Barthakur said.
"We at Rajasthan Royals will not tolerate any actions that are unfair by definition and bring disrepute to the game of cricket. Our Zero tolerance policy applies to everyone in our team. Please bear with us."
Smith has not missed a Test since March 2013 in India, a streak of 59 matches in which he scored 23 Test centuries, was handed the Test captaincy and ascended to the top of the Test batting rankings.
He fronted the media on Saturday night and confessed his regret and part in the wrongdoing.
"Obviously, today was a big mistake on my behalf and on the leadership group's behalf as well," he said.
"But I take responsibility as the captain, I need to take control of the ship, but this is certainly something I'm not proud of and something that I hope I can learn from and come back strong from.
"I am embarrassed to be sitting here talking about this."
With Smith out of the fourth Test, reserve batsman Peter Handscomb looks set to reurn to the playing XI after he was dropped after two Tests in the Magellan Ashes this summer.
Qantas tour of South Africa
South Africa squad: Faf du Plessis (c), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Theunis de Bruyn, Dean Elgar, Heinrich Klaasen, Quinton de Kock, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Duanne Olivier, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, AB de Villiers.
Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Chadd Sayers, Mitchell Starc.
Warm-up match: Australia beat South Africa A by five wickets. Report, highlights
First Test Australia won by 118 runs. Scorecard
Second Test South Africa won by six wickets. Scorecard
Third Test Newlands, Cape Town, March 22-26. Live coverage
Fourth Test Wanderers, Johannesburg, March 30-April 3. Live coverage