Mbalula spits fire at Safa

2013-04-14 14:00

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Football association’s hopes that inquiry’s scope will be limited now seem premature

Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula is spitting fire.

This week, Mbalula came out with guns blazing over issues of transformation and the expected independent judicial commission of inquiry to investigate match-fixing involving Bafana Bafana’s pre-World Cup matches.

In a clear swipe at the SA Football Association (Safa), Mbalula said government would not be dictated to by a federation on what to do.

This after Safa endorsed the decision of a meeting between Mbalula, Fifa secretary-general Jérôme Valcke and Safa president Kirsten Nematandani that he should set up an independent judicial commission of inquiry immediately.

Fifa wants the commission limited exclusively to the four friendly matches played prior to the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

But Mbalula said Safa was not his big brother, so was not immune to more comprehensive examinations when it comes to wrongdoing.

“We have reached a full circle in terms of consultation. The process is at the level of government and we know what needs to be done,” said Mbalula.

“We are not in the business of dealing with things in a manner of shortcuts and we will be consistent for the rest of our lives. What you are seeing is semantics and shenanigans of people who know what they stand for.

“We don’t know where they meet at night. I wish to be part of their meetings and know what their plan is. What I know is what I know from where I know it from, and that is we have agreed on the inquiry, finish and klaar.

“Who says what about what is no longer making me to have sleepless nights because people have their own agendas and conspiracies.”

But Mbalula said Safa was an independent body and had its own way of doing things.

“They have set and made suggestions to government but their decision is not cast in stone and will be subjected to review. We are not confused about what needs to be done.

“The matter is receiving attention and we are on course to get to the bottom of all allegations raised within Safa. We cannot turn a blind eye to wrongdoing, but there is no mudslinging. Safa has raised their voice and we are listening, and we have taken into consideration what needs to be done,” said Mbalula.

He admitted he had used taxpayers’ money to travel to Fifa’s headquarters in Zurich last week to address the issue.

“It was my obligation to clarify to Fifa that we want to uproot corruption, maladministration and possible disaster that we are heading to.

“The trip to Zurich was long and costly to me and cost my energy, but I did it. I don’t know what people are complaining about. If you know your story and know you are a good man and a good citizen, why worry?

“There is no wishful thinking on our part to subvert everything in the interest of individuals. Everything will be transparent and above board.”

He said other people were also being investigated in the country, but never complained.

“We get investigated in this country about everything and we never complain. Who should not be investigated? Why shouldn’t people be investigated when things are reported?

“Government is being investigated for Nkandla and there is Marikana where the police commissioner has been grilled for two weeks. Now we are told by some people who meet at night that ‘we can’t be investigated’.

Where? Not in this country. Never.

“We will never be threatened by anyone about their knowledge and history. Your history says nothing if you have done wrong. At the end of the day, people should subject themselves to the processes. Let’s move on. There is life after everything.”

On the issue of transformation, Mbalula said the time of paying it only lip service was over as they wanted to get the ball rolling now.

“In the past 10 years, it has all been about cheap talk, but no grip. We will not be scared to take action against those not complying, by cutting funding to deregistering them if teams are not reflective of the demographics of the country.”

He said some of the tools to measure transformation would be a charter, scorecards and quotas that were adopted at last year’s sports indaba.

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