‘Safa has collapsed completely’: Ria Ledwaba calls for Fifa intervention

Former vice-president calls for normalisation committee to take control

Marc Strydom Digital Sports Editor
Ria Ledwaba Ledwaba says Safa leaders are scared to speak out.
Ria Ledwaba Ledwaba says Safa leaders are scared to speak out.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Former South African Football Association (Safa) vice-president Ria Ledwaba launched another broadside at the embattled custodian of football and its president Danny Jordaan on Tuesday, calling for Fifa intervention in the organisation.

Ledwaba, who unsuccessfully ran in the 2022 elective congress against Jordaan and has challenged its results in court, had called a press conference to address the issue of being declared persona non grata by Safa on March 6.

She said she received a letter from Safa late on Tuesday night rescinding that declaration.

Ledwaba said such an action was a “demonstration of an organisation that has collapsed completely” and called for Fifa to establish a normalisation committee to take control of Safa.

The drama surrounding Ledwaba comes within a fortnight of the Hawks raiding Safa House in Nasrec in connection with allegations of fraud and theft amounting to R1.3m linked to Jordaan.

Ledwaba said she initially decided not to speak to the media when she received the ban because “my God said” she should not.

“And I’m saying that one of the things I think God responded on was to send the Hawks to Safa.

 “On March 8 it was the Hawks. And yesterday, Safa office hours are from 8am to 5pm, but at 8.20pm I’m on my phone, I’m going through my emails and I see an email from Safa.

“I thought, ‘Oh my God, they are writing to me to stop my press conference tomorrow’. But I want to say to the South African media today, this is a demonstration of an organisation that has collapsed completely.

“I don’t even believe that this decision for the ‘persona non grata’ was taken by the NEC [national executive committee].”

Ledwaba said the March 6 letter stated she had “brought the organisation into disrepute”.

“And, my God, what did I do? I have a dispute. That dispute will remain, whether they like it or not. And I always say there are three sides to the story — their version, my version and the truth, and one day the truth will set us all free.”

Ledwaba has attempted to take a dispute of the governance of the 2022 elective congress through the Safa processes but the association fought an attempt to go to arbitration. Jordaan received 186 votes, Ledwaba 27 and Solly Mohlabeng eight in the congress.

Last month the Pretoria high court dismissed Ledwaba and Mohlabeng’s attempt to challenge the outcome of the elective congress.

Ledwaba described Safa as an organisation in crisis where leadership figures fear speaking out.

“We have great people in there [Safa’s NEC] — lawyers, teachers ... But why are the not speaking? They are afraid to be where I am. How is it even imaginable that the president has new vice-presidents all the time?

“That organisation [will remain that way] as long as we don’t have capable and responsible people who stand up and say ‘enough is enough’ and ‘we cannot operate outside the constitution’.”

as long as the matters raised in those reports are not attended to, 10 years from now we’ll still be talking about the same thing.
Ria Ledwaba

Ledwaba said she will continue to speak out on the issues she alleges are plaguing Safa.

“I want you to leave this place knowing that Safa don’t know what they are doing. They are running an organisation that is loved by South Africans but they wake up every morning and do the unbelievable, basically because the leader there [Jordaan] tells them what to do.

“... Safa has two reports [from ex-officials alleging widespread lack of good governance, by former CEOs Dennis Mumble and Gay Mokoena], and now it’s three with [vice-president] Gladwyn White’s letter [a critical memo circulated recently].

“And I’m going to say this in my conclusion: as long as the matters raised in those reports are not attended to, 10 years from now we’ll still be talking about the same thing.

“I’m calling on Fifa, you have done it in many federations — where there is mismanagement of funds and no governance, Fifa come and establish [a] normalisation [committee].I’m c calling on them to do exactly [that with Safa] and let’s save our football.”

Ledwaba’s letter from Safa received on Tuesday stated the association “regret having sent you the letter dated March 6, which is hereby withdrawn”.

“However, if and when you wish to become active in South African football or any of its structures, then we reserve our right to take the appropriate legal action in terms of the Safa statutes and regulations.”

Jordaan is in Algeria accompanying Bafana Bafana for their friendlies against Andorra on Thursday and Algeria on Tuesday (both 11pm SA time).