Johannesburg – The warring factions vying for the SA Football Associations’ presidency have claimed victory following last weekend’s constitutional congress.
A faction that has put forward Irvin Khoza’s name to challenge for the presidency in the September 28 elective congress maintained on Tuesday the Orlando Pirates chairman was eligible, even as the Safa constitution seems to clearly prohibit him from running as he’s a club owner.
Mandla “Shoes” Mazibuko, the Safa vice-president, who has been at the forefront of getting Khoza elected to the top seat, stated their man could run for presidency.
“According to our interpretation, nobody is precluded. The clause in the Safa constitution specifically states what’s required of the president. But (our candidate) is not the president yet. It’s not correct to say he can’t stand.”
Mazibuko said the ultimate decision would have to be made by Khoza, who is also chairman of the Premier Soccer League, on whether he’ll stand.
“We had (current president) Kirsten Nematandani running for president while he was still chairman of the Safa Vhembe region. He had to stand down after being elected.”
(Former Safa president) Molefi Oliphant was also president of the Vaal region.
“The question now is whether the chairman (Khoza) would relinquish his chairmanship (of a club and league) if elected,” Mazibuko said.
But Safa’s head of legal affairs, Pooby Govindasamy, made it clear Article 37 of the organisation’s constitution prevents Khoza from running.
“Over the weekend the constitution which was drafted in 2011 was formally adopted. It clearly says a club chairman or director is not eligible to run for president,” Govindasamy said.
The said Article 37.9 reads: “The President shall not be an owner or have any interest financial or otherwise in any club under the jurisdiction of Safa.”
Govindsmany added any motion to change the constitution would now have to be made at the eagerly-awaited September 28 annual general meeting, but that would require a two-thirds majority to pass.
“The fact is now the constitution has been ratified. There were heated arguments and vigorous debates about some aspects of eligibility, but ultimately there was agreement and thus no need to put anything to vote.
“But if there are some who still need to make constitutional amendments, they can only do so on September 28 through a two-thirds majority.
“Tonight is the deadline for all nominations to be submitted to Safa chief executive Dennis Mumble’s office.
“The list would be audited by the Independent Electoral Commission, which was mandated by Safa at the weekend to run the electoral process. The IEC would then, after looking at the Safa constitution, rule on matters of eligibility.”
A Safa insider claimed the IEC would not deem Khoza eligible.
“He’ll be ruled out because the electoral officers have to follow what’s in the constitution. You can’t wait until after the process. Candidates must be eligible to stand,” said the insider, who cannot be named because he wasn’t mandated to speak on the matter.
Mazibuko, meanwhile, was adamant Saturday’s congress was a “huge success”.
“Despite contentious issues, we showed maturity by reaching consensus.
“We were the ones who proposed that the IEC run this election, while some people wanted to handpick a committee.”
Asked if Khoza had accepted nomination, Mazibuko retorted: “I can’t speak on his behalf because I’m not his spokesperson. Let’s wait for the process to conclude (tonight) and see whether he has signed the nomination forms.”
Only incumbent president Nematandani has publicly announced he’s seeking re-election, although vice-president Danny Jordaan is also expected to run.
The candidates are expected to be announced this week.