State prepares to respond to Safa match-fixing saga

2013-04-19 13:18

Government will announce its stance on the alleged match-fixing saga at the SA Football Association (Safa) in two weeks, Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula has said.

“We are busy processing this issue at government level and ... we’ll come back to Safa and Fifa. It won’t be an underground matter,” he said today at The New Age breakfast briefing in Sandton, Johannesburg.

Mbalula said investigations would be conducted with integrity and transparency.

Yesterday, President Jacob Zuma’s office said he had not yet decided whether or not to establish a commission of inquiry into the issue.

“The matter is still being looked into and such consideration will take into account the relevant legal framework and protocols governing football, domestic and international,” spokesperson Mac Maharaj said in a statement.

Today, Mbalula stressed that government would not tolerate any wrongdoing in sport.

“We won’t (turn) a blind eye to instability, disorganisation, misrepresentation and fraud,” he said.

Global football body Fifa wrote to Mbalula and Safa president Kirsten Nematandani saying it wanted to distance itself from investigations into anything other than match-fixing.

Fifa’s letter followed reports that the commission of inquiry would not only cover the alleged match-fixing reports, but would also include South Africa’s alleged inappropriate use and disbursement of the Fifa legacy trust funds and corruption.

Mbalula called for Fifa not to lose trust in South Africa.

“You must trust the people of South Africa ... When we are done, we will come back to you,” he said.

He also called on sport fans to keep faith in government and the sport ministry.

“Be reassured, we would never sell out the people of South Africa. Never ever,” he said.

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