IOL soccer writer Njabulo Ngidi. Photo: Karen Sandison
The South African Football Association (Safa) have a golden opportunity to clean themselves up and become more transparent in the upcoming elective congress but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.

Keeping up with these elections has made me age quicker than normal with so many twists and turn and mudslinging - in short, it’s been like any typical election. The two leading candidates, Ace Ncobo and current incumbent Danny Jordaan, have adopted different strategies in their lead-up to the elections. 

Jordaan has been very quiet on the matter. Mzwandile Maforvane, general secretary of Football Transformation Forum (FTF), has done most of the talking, revealing their overwhelming support from the regions and stating that whoever runs against Jordaan stands no chance.

Ncobo has been a vocal critic of the current leadership, labelling Jordaan a “constitutional delinquent who doesn’t deserve to sit on the Safa presidential seat”. The former Fifa referee has shaken these elections with his revelations and went as far as to say that Safa must be put under administration by Fifa.

The world governing body sent Cosafa president Phillip Chiyangwa to deal with the impasse. The charismatic Zimbabwean official boasted he was the perfect person to mediate even though he has close ties with Jordaan. But before the ink had even dried on the agreement Ncobo and Jordaan signed, Safa went ahead with a decision that would be in breach of that agreement. 

Safa are pushing for the elections to take place next week by appointing an emergency electoral committee, an act that they have powers to do even though it goes against what Ncobo and Jordaan agreed upon.

“It was on the basis of this understanding that the agreement stipulates, inter alia, that before any elective congress can be held, an electoral committee must be elected in accordance with the electoral code,” Ncobo said in a statement. “The electoral code specifies that the electoral committee is elected in an ordinary congress six months before an elective congress and that this prescribed constitutional imperative provides no room for deviation.

“Fifa also noted the various individuals and members who were effectively disenfranchised and labelled ineligible by persons who were not empowered to make such pronouncements as only the electoral committee can do so. The establishment of the electoral committee and granting it the statutory six months period will enable all those who may have complaints relating to the electoral process to have a quasi-judicial body, as provided for in the electoral code, to which they can table such complaints. The electoral code also prescribes the election of an Electoral Appeal Committee as the final arbiter on all matters not dealt with by the electoral committee to the satisfaction of any individual or member who made such a submission.”

It’s hard to fathom why there is such a rush to fast-track these elections with so many other issues needing addressing. There is the two-year battle for control over Safa's eThekwini region. 

Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana, who wanted to run against Jordaan, filed a motion to interdict on Wednesday to block the elections as there are no auditors and there is no electoral committee to oversee the whole process. But the big red flag is the Independent Electoral Commission pulling out because they feel their involvement would be in breach of the Safa statutes and electoral code.

In short, it’s a mess which is why Safa leaders should come out to put not only the regions but the South African football population in their faith on why they are pushing to have these elections so quickly. Their official reason  that since Bafana Bafana didn’t qualify for the World Cup it makes sense to push it forward from September to this month  isn’t valid enough.

This whole process hasn’t been transparent enough and it looks like if Ncobo and his camp hadn’t raised their concerns these elections would have gone ahead despite some of the discrepancies. 

If the concerns around these elections aren’t raised whoever will be voted into power will have a shadow hanging over their head - not good for him or the game.

This is a perfect opportunity for Safa to do some serious introspection, look at the wins and losses and how to address them so our football can move forward. But it doesn’t look like it will happen with the elections set to go ahead without addressing the concerns that have been raised.

Saturday Star

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