Safa match-fixing: It’s going to get nasty

2013-02-24 10:00

Independent commission of inquiry set to scrutinise the Fifa report.

The national executive committee (NEC) of the SA Football Association (Safa) yesterday took a decision to launch an independent commission of inquiry into allegations of match-fixing involving Bafana Bafana matches prior to the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

Safa’s supreme decision making body endorsed a recommendation of the association’s legal and constitutional committee that called for an independent commission to get to the bottom of the allegations contained in the Fifa report on match-fixing.

The dossier, given to Safa in December, implicated Safa president Kirsten Nematandani and senior staff members Adeel Carelse, Dennis Mumble, Lindile Kika, Barney Kujane and former chief executive Leslie Sedibe.

A decision to set up a commission and put staff members on special leave was taken by Safa’s emergency committee in December.

But that decision was reversed by the NEC last month.

The NEC said, at the time, the emergency committee did not have powers to suspend people.

Safa vice-president Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana said the commission of inquiry would be established in consultation with the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) and the department of sport.

Nonkonyana said they wanted the commission to dispose of the allegations as soon as possible and had set themselves a three-month period to complete the work.

He said: “Once we receive the commission’s report, we will consider its findings and recommendations and decide what needs to be done. Hopefully, this matter will be dealt with speedily.”

Nonkonyana explained that the commission’s work would be a separate process from what the police elite investigation unit, the Hawks, were doing on the same matter of match-fixing.

“The Hawks matter is a criminal investigation and we have our own process that we must follow, because this contravened our own statutes,” he said.

“If the Hawks find evidence against anyone, it will be a criminal offence.”

The legal and constitutional committee chairperson Pooby Govindasamy said the terms of reference of the commission would be jointly decided by Safa, Sascoc and the sports ministry.

“This will give whoever is mentioned in the report a chance to clear their names and we will decide, at the end, whether to call them to appear before the (Safa) disciplinary committee or be suspended.”

However, Govindasamy said: “It was clear the Fifa report was incomplete, hopelessly inadequate and had many holes.

“In order for us to get to the bottom of this, we need our own independent investigation. We cannot prejudge and start convicting or disciplining people because that will be unfair and it is not part of South African law.”

He added: “This was an informal process and no one was under oath. The interviews with the president and the former chief executive officer were not included in the report and none

of the international referees were interviewed.”

Govindasamy said they would write a letter to Fifa to inform the world football governing body of the decision of yesterday’s meeting and keep them abreast with developments.

Nematandani said they (as Safa) had appointed a delegation of nine people to meet with Sascoc and give feedback on the match-fixing report.

Other items on the agenda are allegations of financial instability within Safa and further allegations of interference by a lobby group calling itself the Football Transformation Forum.

Five things the commission of inquiry must investigate

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