By Paul Nicholson
July 23 – Danny Jordaan, the president of the South African FA (SAFA) and the administrative face of the South Africa 2010 World Cup, has come under renewed pressure following an extensive FIFA Ethics complaint filed by two of his National Executive Committee (NEC).
Personable, frequently charming and smooth talking, Jordaan has been no stranger to integrity issues since 2010 including allegations of rape and sexual harassment, his role in facilitating a $10 million payment to Concacaf (really to Jack Warner) to land the 2010 tournament, and multiple concerns over his running of SAFA.
The new complaint, filed by NEC members Malesela William Mooka and Thamsanqa Gay Mokoena, details numerous violations of the FIFA Code of Ethics, the 2017 and 2018 editions of the SAFA Statutes and the FIFA Statutes, Rules and Regulations.
Insideworldfootball has seen a copy of the complaint which details Jordaan’s “rampant abuse of power” and a federation where questioners of his rule and autocratic decision making are dealt with ruthlessly, often with removal from SAFA bodies and positions. It also details financial impropriety and an abject failure to attempt to meet SAFA’s stated aims and objectives.
Mooka and Mokoena have also begun legal proceeding against Jordaan in South Africa, opening a case with the South African Police Services over misappropriating SAFA’s resources for personal gain and for conduct which prejudiced SAFA financially by unilaterally agreeing to write off a large amount of contracted broadcast revenue.
Jordaan is also accused of unlawfully squandering FIFA’s and SAFA’s resources in the acquisition of a National Technical Center for SAFA. Included in the complaint is an undetailed ‘commission’ payment of R2.5 million ($150,000) paid by SAFA for the acquisition of the land – usually buyers do not pay commission on property acquisition.
The criminal complaint is supported by Lucas Nhlapo, the former chairperson of the SAFA Audit Committee, who was also a former SAFA Vice-President, as well as Dennis Mumble, the last permanent CEO of SAFA, who also filed a supporting affidavit.
It is the extent of the power Jordaan wields within the SAFA and his unashamed authoritarian rule to support his own agenda that shines through the complaint. It is a theme that has been picked up at various times in South African media in recent years as Jordaan has unceremoniously dumped staff and vice presidents who questioned decision-making.
“It is frightening how SAFA has become an island of fear, retribution and uninformed opprobrium where free speech has been subjected to the whims of a single person whose actions have led to the alienation of countless servants of the game over the past few years. It is now well-known in South Africa that the SAFA President has been unable to maintain working relationships with any of his Vice-Presidents since he was first elected in 2013. No disagreements are tolerated. Those who choose to advise him are immediately exiled and removed from football, characterized as enemies of the South African Football Association,” says the complaint to FIFA.
Highest profile of those personnel removals were that of Mokoena (one of the complainants to FIFA Ethics) and Ria Ledwaba as vice presidents in June. Mokoena had been acting CEO of SAFA while a new recruit for the position was being sought.
During his time within the executive of SAFA. Mokoena compiled a report detailing allegations of serious misconduct by the SAFA President. The expectation was that the report would be circulated to the NEC which would then decide the best way to process these allegations.
At the same time a report but the last permanent CEO of SAFA, Dennis Mumble, was also compiled, detailing similar transgressions by Jordaan.
The Mumble report was never circulated to the NEC while the Mokoena report was only tabled as a discussion document in a meeting that Jordaan insisted on chairing. At the core of Mokoena’s report was that SAFA had been pushed to the brink of insolvency by Jordaan’s financial management. Jordaan had already denied all the allegations in the report publicly after it had been linked and an orchestrated social media campaign conducted that poured scorn on the allegations.
At a meeting June 20, Mokoena, having presented his report and having left the meeting (he was bound by Covid-19 travel restrictions), a decision was then taken to remove Mokoena from his vice presidency.
One of the supporters demanding transparency regarding the Mokoena report had been Ria Ledwaba. She had twice written to Jordaan urging the report was discussed formally with no response. She also emailed the South African Minister of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture to request that he bring the parties together to discuss the allegations.
Ledwaba then found herself subject to social media trolling and abuse, including on a WhatsApp platform led by Jordaan. Having again tried to bring the Mokoena report into focus and detailing the abuse she was receiving at the June 20 meeting, Ledwaba was then subject to a motion that saw her also removed from her vice presidency. Neither of the motions to remove Ledwaba or Mokoena were tabled before the meeting.
In their submission to the FIFA Ethics committee Mooka and Mokoena say: “We therefore pray that the FIFA Ethics Committee would take the following steps to normalize the state of governance in SAFA.”
Those steps include the suspension of Jordaan “whilst the long list of violations committed by him are further investigated by the competent authorities in FIFA and the South African Police Services, for those matters that are criminal in nature”, and that FIFA impose a Normalisation Committee “with a view to leading the Association out of the state of insolvency”.
They also ask “That the conduct of the SAFA President during the FIFA investigation into the allegations of bribery in 2015 be reexamined with a view to determining why he has not reported the outcomes of that investigation to the SAFA NEC or the SAFA Congress.” Similarly they request individual sanctions are considered for NEC members who have “not applied the good judgement rules in their conduct”.
For FIFA Ethics it is yet another wake up call alerting them to the rampant corruption and poor governance that has plagued Africa and its federations, a situation worsened under the leadership of Confederation of African Football president Ahmad.
Ahmad has been protected by FIFA. The question will be whether FIFA Ethics will be allowed to investigate Jordaan, a long time political favourite of FIFA and who has politically stood by Ahmad and FIFA president Gianni Infantino for his own benefit, and theirs. With Infantino himself facing growing pressure from the Swiss judicial authorities, he is likely to need all the friends he can gather in a federation world increasingly distancing themselves from him. Infantino has shown no scruples in his willingness to immerse himself in Switzerland’s judicial procedures regarding the various FIFA investigations. Will he allow and encourage FIFA Ethics to pursue this case to its legitimate conclusion? It is another test of FIFA Ethics’ independence. Sadly when it comes to Africa it is a test that is too often failed.
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