Joffe on corruption – Transformation’s achilles heel. Where did FIFA millions go?

Where one gains another loses, it’s the zero sum game, and in such cases it’s usually the majority.

Alleged corrupt activities are prevalent in all formats, be it business or sport. But what’s the real impact if money is flowing up illegally, rather than its expected route to grass roots? Government, in particular sports minister Fikile Mbalula, has come out attacking sporting codes for a lack of transformation, going as far as banning the right to host international events the four of the big codes.

It goes back to the age old problem of accountability, and the lack thereof. Transformation doesn’t begin at the highest level, it starts at grass roots, but who’s really responsible for development? And when money flows up, it’s only transformation that suffers.

And until the scourge of corruption is tackled, we’ll continue to brand excellent performances from a Kagiso Rabada as a wow moment rather than the norm. It’s time the gold fingers were snipped so South Africa’s true potential can be recognised. Graeme Joffe seeks common sense on the transformation debate. – Stuart Lowman

By Graeme Joffe*

It took almost an hour for any common sense to prevail in the 702 sports transformation debate on Tuesday afternoon.

Sports Minister, Fikile Mbalula was given the platform for the first twenty minutes to do his usual politicking and to try and explain his reasons for suspending certain federations from hosting international events due to a lack of transformation.

That was followed by some bizarre comments from an out of touch, Willie Basson who has made a living from transformation charters and reports.

Then jackpot …

The CEO of the Gauteng Cricket Board, Greg Fredericks said we need to dig deeper as to why there is a lack of transformation and why a school in Sandton has more cricket facilities than all the township schools in Gauteng combined.

Boom, he hit two nails on the head right there.

No facilities equals no opportunity, which equals no growth of talent, which equals a lack of transformation.

Fredericks also took offence to a couple of Basson’s comments which included the reference to one group for Blacks, Coloureds and Indians when it comes to transformation.

Mbalula got hot under the collar and jumped onto Fredericks for ‘grandstanding and playing the man, not the ball’.

How ironic from the Razmatazz.

Mbalula then put his foot in his mouth (a common occurrence if there’s no whiskey bottle in his hand). He talked about the hundreds, yes hundreds of cricket facilities that Dr Bacher and company had built in Soweto, yes just Soweto after the World Cup in SA in 2003 but they are now dilapidated due to lack of maintenance.

Mbalula blamed the federations for this state of disrepair but excused government from any accountability.

It would be interesting to see the map for these hundreds of cricket facilities.

But why do we only hear about this now and why hasn’t Dr Bacher or Cricket SA had to answer for it?

Perhaps, because Mbalula and company do exactly the same with the Sports Trust. They drop off multi-purpose courts in townships with no coaches and no maintenance plan and they call it ‘grass roots development’.

Quick and easy grandstanding!

Just take a drive through the Port Elizabeth townships and see what the majority of basketball courts are being used for today!

Not sport!

Fredericks is on the money.

You need facilities with proper structures (coaching and maintenance) in the townships if you want to see real transformation.

So, why is there this lack of structure?

The second nail …

Many of SA’s ‘high ranking’ sports administrators and officials are making money without even having to earn it.

If you can sit on your jack and do nothing and get millions from the National Lottery through misappropriation of funds and false applications (with friends in the distribution agencies) – why would you want to be on a dusty field coaching, doing maintenance or trying to make a difference?

The gross corruption in SA sport starts with the Lottery and these are also largely funds that should be going to grass roots development, Olympic athletes and charities.

There are so many good coaches, officials and former players who would love to get involved but so much of this type funding goes to feed the greed.

It actually makes me sick with what I know but it just never seems to get reported on in the media.


I guess SASCOC suing me for R21.1m for defamation in my personal capacity worked like a charm as did the threat to my safety.

Just a few examples of the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund payments (NLDTF) which drew a big red flag:

SA Football Museum” got R4.8m from the Lottery in 2013. Where is the museum?

• SASCOC got R17.7m from the Lottery for CHAN 2013 but had ‘no involvement’ in the football tournament

• SACPO (Voluntary Organisation of FET College principals) got R21.1m from Lottery in 2014 for a “sports project”.

What project? The  SACPO website is a thing of beauty – under construction for the last two years.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) declare a profit of almost R200m for the 2013 to 2014 season. In 2014/2015, cricket receives the following payments from the National Lottery distribution agency (NLDTF):

• November 2014: Border cricket – R17.3m

• February 2015: United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCB) – R2.5m

• March 2015: Cricket South Africa – R5m

CSA is still unable to answer for the irregular Lottery payment to UCB ten years after the application. Sershan Naidoo from the National Lottery Board contradicted CSA by saying it was a 2009 application. CSA said it was a 2005 application.

Either way, it must be some kind of record for a payment to be made six to ten years after the application.

SA rugby’s annual profits run into the millions after the staff bonuses to the CEO, Jurie Roux and a handful of others but the Lottery still gives them at least R15 million every year for the ‘academies’.

Boland Athletics gets more Lottery funding every year than most national federations. Dr Harold Adams just happens to the President of Boland Athletics and is the Deputy Chairperson of the Lottery Distributing Agency for Sport and Recreation. The Chairperson is Mveleli Ncula who together with Adams was a guest of SASCOC at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

I’m sure they’ll be on the gravy train for the Rio Olympics as well.

A third party (a good friend of Adams) did the Lottery application for SACPO.

Speaking of friends, has anyone seen how the FIFA millions from the 2010 World Cup trust are being allocated?

SA’s good friend and former FIFA secretary-general, Jerome Valcke (who has been banned from football for corruption related activities) and SAFA president, Danny Jordaan are/were two of the signatories on the account.

So, is there another ‘diaspora’?

Mbalula said to 702 radio show host, Xolani Gwala ‘not to speak as if we don’t have facilities at all, like the DRC’.

Oops, he did it again.

Then added that he didn’t go for the ‘joogular’ with the suspensions of the federations.

Basson also made a howler, using SA Bowls as an example, saying they had a real problem because the average age of the players was 74.

Not sure of the transformation relevance here and not to mention, the SA Bowls team who won seven medals at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

A top sports administrator was seeking to return to South Africa in 2015 but was warned against it.

"When I was back in May, a senior figure in sport told me to stay away from sport in SA as it is very corrupt – “stay the f**k out of sport…” were the words. It is disappointing that my experience is similar in international sport where corruption and some dubious practices occur and we wonder why national sports operate similarly."

Finally, if you want a real debate on transformation in SA sport, firstly do it on a national radio station and secondly on a station that isn’t conflicted as a Sports Ministry/SASCOC beneficiary.

But there’s a signal loss from Primedia (702) when questioned on how much they get paid for the LeadSA/sports parades and the PR ‘send off and welcome home’ campaigns for the athletes at the airport.

Robert Marawa and Thando Manana would have eaten Mbalula alive on Metro FM.

So, I’m not surprised he agreed to go on 702.

Just hope Primedia didn’t get paid to host the transformation debate.

Graeme Joffe is a former CNN International and 94.7 sportscaster who investigates corruption in South African sport. He fled his homeland after being warned that his life was in danger.

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