Ex-NEC member calls for Sascoc to 'shut down' association

Coalition of the discarded backs Ria in Safa fight

alls for Sascocto ‘shut down’association

Nkareng Matshe Sports editor
Ria Ledwaba speaks during the media engagement in response to her unconstitutional ban from football at Empowaworx House in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
Ria Ledwaba speaks during the media engagement in response to her unconstitutional ban from football at Empowaworx House in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
Image: Lefty Shivambu

It was billed as “Ria Ledwaba’s response to her unconstitutional ban from football”. But Wednesday’s gathering at a hideous Randburg household turned into a mini-rally, with no fewer than five political parties taking to the podium and at least one of them distributing election T-shirts.

Ledwaba, who was banned last week and then unbanned by the South African Football Association (Safa) this week, was the main act, although listed as speaker No 7 in a long programme which began with prayer, some 11 minutes after the initially stated starting time.

Essentially, as acknowledged by the last speaker, the gathering was a “convention of the disgruntled”, former employees and executives of Safa all united in bemoaning the depths to which the football association has sunk.

These included former CEOs Dennis Mumble, Gay Mokoena and Leslie Sedibe, as well as ex-NEC members Vernon Seymor, Buti Lerefolo and Willie Mooka. Football legends in the audience included Doctor Khumalo, former Orlando Pirates great Aubrey Lekwane and Marokolo Khoabane, once of SuperSport United.   

While Ledwaba argued for Fifa’s intervention “through normalisation of the dysfunctional Safa”, Lerefolo, who served in the NEC between 2009 and 2013, provided perhaps the most honest assessment of the situation at Safa House.

“We [the NEC] are part of the problem. We speak out only after we have left. The guys who want to come in [to the NEC] are so eager that they don’t believe you when you tell them about the problems,” Lerefolo said. “That’s why I have massive respect for sis Ria because she spoke while inside [the NEC].”

Mumble and Mokoena, once among the staunchest Jordaan defenders, were both cast aside after very public fallouts which included damning dossiers about the latter’s alleged misrule and interference in operational matters.

It has been Jordaan’s modus operandi to use a pliant NEC as his defence force, and bizarrely, Lerefolo seemed to put the blame on the media for this. “Why are you [media] not holding the NEC accountable? Ask them who authorised that letter which declared sis Ria persona non grata. Some of them don’t even know what that means.”

He also called for Sascoc to “shut down” Safa. “They have the powers to do that. Safa will of course say this can lead to a ban by Fifa but the truth is Safa is dead, it’s dysfunctional.”

Ledwaba has demanded an apology from Safa for initially banning her, only to “withdraw” the decision a few days later, but she has promised to fight on through an appeal after a court declared she had no cause to contest the outcome of the 2022 election.

“The dispute with Safa arose from me challenging the president [Jordaan] about the [rape] allegations [which were levelled against him in 2018],” she said. “Between myself and the president, who must be declared persona non grata?”

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