Safa scores own goal in jobs-for-pals game

2011-05-14 18:38

Cronyism reared its ugly head again this week as soccer’s governing body continued to reward individuals who played a role in ­ushering in the current leadership with cushy jobs.

The South African Football ­Association (Safa) announced several appointments in a circular to staff members at Safa House this week.

It was quite noticeable that several individuals were closely aligned to the Football Transformation ­Forum (FTF).

This is the structure used as a campaign vehicle before the Safa watershed elections in September 2009 and which models itself on that of the ruling party, the ANC.

Most of the new appointees will each earn about R65 000 a month.

Since the beginning of the year, Safa has made several appointments including that of Dennis Mumble (who was the FTF’s chief strategist leading to the elections and the author of its manifesto) from strategic planning and transformation manager in the president’s office to chief operations officer.

Other transformation forum supporters finding themselves in Safa’s head office are Lindile “Ace” Kika, Steve Pila, Nkosinathi Ngcobo and Solly Phasha.

Phasha was advised by the previous leadership to take his ­severance package – which included all his pension money and a ­R1 million sweetener for long and loyal service – and apparently told that “the incoming president was not willing to work with you”.

His re-employment as facilities manager should raise eyebrows, not only because of his acrimonious parting of ways with the organisation and the golden hand-shake he received, but also because he is now over Safa’s legal pensionable age which was confirmed by Ngcobo to City Press this week as being that of 60.

His return means Safa now has three employees above the age of 60 years old – Bafana team manager Barney Kujane and director of junior teams Stanley “Screamer” Tshabalala.

Surprisingly, Mumble previously parted ways with the soccer body and was paid about R800?000 then, but is now second in charge of administration, which means he reports directly to acting CEO Pinky Lehoko who is also his ­estranged wife.

They have been ­separated more than three years.

Kika, who was initially employed as a “manager” in the president’s office, has now been confirmed as the head of national teams ­administration.

Pila is acting director of competitions, a position left vacant when Safa disposed of Balebetse ­Monnakgotla who was told his contract had expired.

He is ­engaged in a legal battle with Safa as he argues that his position had been made permanent by the previous CEO, Raymond Hack.

Monnakgotla is apparently in possession of affidavits from Hack and former chairman of the ­finance and remunerations committee Mubarak Mohamed to back up his claims.

Ngcobo is the new head of legal affairs.

Among the appointments ­announced this week are those of Russel Paul as head of events, Simon Franklin – who replaces ­Victor Nosi after he parted ways with Safa last year – as the director of commercial affairs and head of security Mlungisi Ngcamu.

Ngcobo and Paul were two of the three candidates short-listed for the position of CEO from which Safa said they could not find a suitable candidate.

The other was former Premier Soccer League (PSL) general manager Andrew Dipela.

Another appointee John ­Mthunzini, who was employed as an events coordinator, is on ­suspension and attended a disciplinary hearing on Wednesday.

Ngcobo said Mthunzini was charged with misconduct and of breaching Safa’s code of conduct. City Press has been reliably ­informed Mthunzini is ­accused of leaking information to the media.

Apparently his hearing and sanctioning will be aimed at warning other staff members that the new leadership does not take kindly to people who “leak sensitive information to the media”.

Yesterday, Ngcobo said there was a finding at the disciplinary hearing, but he referred it to the CEO as it could not be made public because Mthunzini had not been informed yet.

City Press reported in May and July last year that there were moves to entrench Mumble and bring Kika into the Bafana Bafana fold, reports that were ­subsequently rubbished by Safa.

A staff member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the appointments were questionable.

“The problem is that people are given jobs and huge packages ­before it’s determined what ­exactly they are going to do.”

Other concerns raised are that Safa relies on sponsorship for their income and they have not managed to attract new ­sponsorship for a lengthy period.

The under-20 and ­Under-23 national teams are not sponsored.

The Under-17 (First National Bank) and Bafana Bafana (SAB and Absa) are the only two teams with sponsorship. The Vodacom League’s sponsor is in its name.

According to the 2009/10 yearly financial report, Safa had a total staff complement of 101 comprising 59 fixed contracts, 31 permanent contracts, eight temporary staff members and one ­secondment from Germany.

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