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Safa apologises for rants, manhandling of media at press conference

A screenshot of a video of journalists and SA Football Association national executive committee members in heated discussion after a press conference descended into chaos at Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on June 24 2022.
A screenshot of a video of journalists and SA Football Association national executive committee members in heated discussion after a press conference descended into chaos at Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on June 24 2022.
Image: Screenshot/Twitter

SA Football Association (Safa) president Danny Jordaan and CEO Tebogo Motlanthe have apologised for the rants against and manhandling of the media that took place after a press conference on Friday.

The SA Football Journalists Association (Safja) has condemned the incident and “called it out with the contempt that it deserves”.

The incident started inside the press conference after a Safa congress at the Sandton Convention Centre on Friday ahead of Saturday’s elective congress at the same venue, when national executive committee (NEC) members ranted at the media over criticism of Jordaan.

In a statement Safa said: “Dr Jordaan and Adv Motlanthe offered their unconditional apology to eNCA journalist Hloni Mtimkulu after she was impeded from doing her job as she filmed a heated exchange between an NEC member and other members of the media.

“They also offered their apology to other members of the media who had a spat with Safa members.”

Safa’s apology made no mention of the rant against the media inside the press conference room by NEC member Tankiso Modipa.

Jordaan, who was re-elected president on Saturday, said he had always stood for press freedom.

“We had a press conference and we had an incident there which we condemn totally. I think it is the first time in my long memory of football and we do not want it to happen again.”

Motlanthe said Safa always had an open-door policy towards the media.

 “I want to again say we apologise for what happened yesterday. We have spoken to the members concerned and we apologise on their behalf.”

Safja “noted with concern the visuals emerging from the Safa congress media briefing”.

“While we accept that disagreements between media and the governing body will arise from time to time, we take exception to those placed in custody of the beautiful game preventing journalists from doing their work, and call it out with the contempt is deserves.

“Our members Kgomotso Mokoena, Mmasekepe Matsebane and Themba Tshabalala are seen in the video pleading with Safa NEC members to give them space to be impartial in their reporting while Safja secretary-general Hloni Mtimkulu was manhandled — disturbing images have been broadcast on eNCA and social media.

“It is part of this country's hard-fought democracy that officials of public institutions are held accountable, and prohibiting the media from doing this in a responsible manner betrays this.

“Jordaan also cut short the briefing to attend to another engagement. Safa on Friday called journalists to an impromptu press conference, but then its NEC members took over proceedings, answering questions on behalf of the incumbent.”

Friday’s briefing took place in the same room where the congress was held, where many NEC members were still seated at their desks.

Asked about when he decided he needed a third term to fulfil his plans for SA football, Jordaan responded he did not make the decision but was nominated.

He then invited NEC members, who were not at the front desk and officially part of the briefing, to comment.

Modipa ranted that: “It’s always unfair for you as the media to ask questions that are direct and personal to our president. It’s our president — we decide. You are not even in football, you are just a journalist, you must deal with the journalists.”

Jordaan received 186 votes in Saturday’s Safa presidential election, and opponents Ria Ledwaba 27 and Solly Mohlabeng just eight.


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