Injustices at Safa can't go unchallenged, says ousted Ria Ledwaba
Mkhize: Did you see this coming?
Ledwaba: I saw on the WhatsApp group and on emails that I have an ambition of being the next president months after the Gay Mokoena report. But I wasn’t anticipating that something like that would happen. I even personally discussed with the (Safa) president (Danny Jordaan) himself that there are rumours that you intend to remove me as vice-president of Safa. I was surprised that the Safa council can do what they did.
Mkhize: What is the next step for you?
Ledwaba: I am certainly going to challenge this, but I don’t know how at the moment. I haven’t reached the conclusion as to how. This injustice cannot keep happening at Safa. It can’t just continue unchallenged. I’ll be doing injustice to women of this country if I’m going to fold my hands and say, “I’ve been removed and I’m okay with that.” I know my rights. I have the constitution that protects all of us.
Mkhize: Take us through what happened prior to the meeting.
Ledwaba: We had three items on the agenda, which was the payments, activity report, and the Mokoena report. I was told that I could have written the letter internally (instead of writing to Minister of Sport Nathi Mthethwa). I reminded them that on April 27, I wrote the letter addressed to the president.
In my letter I stated that I’m pleading with him to ask the members to stop insulting each other and call the meeting so that we will be able to discuss the matter. Then I wrote the second letter when there was a second round to remove Gay Mokoena, suspend him or to refer his report to the Exco or to the independent body.
Mkhize: Did you get answers?
Ledwaba: No, I didn’t. I had written to the president on numerous occasions and didn’t get any answers. I then sent a letter to the minister.
Mkhize: How did the minister react to your letter?
Ledwaba: The minister immediately called us to a meeting. It was myself, Xolile Komphela and the president. DP (deputy president) Mokoena couldn’t connect. DP (Irvin) Khoza was not available.
The minister said: “I want Safa to deal with the matter.” Indeed, we agreed that we will meet on Friday, May 8. Komphela came back from the Eastern Cape and drove to Johannesburg. But the meeting didn’t materialise. We agreed that we will meet the next day.
Mkhize: What happened at that meeting?
Ledwaba: Unfortunately Komphela had to go back to Port Elizabeth. The meeting was at Safa House on May 9. It was myself, the president and DP Khoza. In the meeting we discussed WhatsApp group messages, media interviews, my letter to the minister, the Gay Mokoena report, retrenchments, and other Safa matters.
The resolution was that the president was going to address the members of the NEC (National Executive Committee) to say that he has been advised that the matter (the Gay Mokoena report) must be addressed by a judicial board. The three of us agreed on an independent board. But at the weekend meeting, the president said that the meeting on May 9 was not a constitutional meeting.
I told him that we’ve had these meetings before as an extraordinary council. I was surprised when the matter was raised and one member said I must be removed. There was a counter motion and we had to vote and they voted me out.