Safa teams’ support staff cry foul over nonpayment

Gay Mokoena, Safa’s vice-president, acting chief executive and chair of finance
Gay Mokoena, Safa’s vice-president, acting chief executive and chair of finance

A group of disgruntled support staff of South African national teams have accused Safa of nonpayment for services rendered.

The aggrieved faction, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, told City Press that they went through a bleak festive season as a result of not being paid, despite offering their services at various national team camps.

Some claimed that they were owed money dating back three camps.

City Press has learnt that things came to a boil last month when one member went as far as approaching Safa president Danny Jordaan to intervene.

“People were frustrated during the Under-20 Cosafa Cup in Zambia [last month],” said the staffer.

The member said they were hoping to be paid in time for Christmas, with the most recent payment expected to have com through on December 21.

“We were not paid as promised. It shows that Safa doesn’t care about us. It is just using us and it was so painful going into Christmas without being paid.

“When we followed up in the new year, we were told that Safa’s office would open on January 13. I mean, schools are reopening [this week] and we need to do preparations for our kids,” they said.

“This has been happening for far too long,” they lamented.

City Press has seen the messages exchanged between the irked colleagues last month, in which they enquired among each other if any payments had been made.

Safa acknowledged that there were outstanding payments, but pinned the nonpayment on “the hectic preparation activities” for its annual general meeting last month and the subsequent closure of its office for the festive season.

“We have a policy of paying our support staff members of the various national teams within 30 days,” noted Safa acting chief executive Gay Mokoena in a written response to questions from City Press.

“I confirm that I received a request to prioritise the payment of the Under-20 men’s national team in December. I also confirm that we prioritised this request. All the paperwork for the payments has been prepared and authorised.”

Mokoena, who is also Safa’s chairperson of the finance committee, added: “However, due to the hectic preparation activities for the congress on December 8, and the subsequent closure of the office for the Christmas recess soon thereafter, unfortunately, these payments could not be finalised in time.”

He said Safa had undertaken to process the first batch of payments in the coming week.

“As these payments are almost ready for settlement, they will be among the first batch of payments that we will make when we reopen next week.”

Safa is still reeling from financial challenges after it registered a R74 million deficit at its annual general meeting last month.

The federation attributed the losses to a period when itself and the cash-strapped SABC could not agree on broadcasting rights for national teams.

Mokoena, who is also the vice-president of Safa, said in a previous media interview that the federation had “initiatives to look at how [to achieve] financial recovery” in place.

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