Cape Town — SAFA chief executive Advocate Tebogo Motlanthe has come out all guns blazing after belligerent former officials sense there is no way back for them into the organisation when elections are held in Johannesburg on 25 June.
Motlanthe, who previously was SAFA's legal officer, has been in the trenches of late as former SAFA CEO Dennis Mumble, fired one salvo after the other at the SAFA leadership. Closely allied to Mumble is SAFA vice-president Ria Ledwaba who set her sights on becoming the next SAFA president.
During Motlanthe's tenure, SAFA have made significant strides on various fronts and he is determined that the present leadership continue their good work. Motlanthe spearheaded the formation of the Women's Super League and secured the sponsor Hollywood bets. He also negotiated the weekly live broadcasts of women's matches. He supported the appointments of women administrators in key positions. Former Banyana Banyana international Lydia Monyapo became the COO and Banyana Banyana legend Amanda Dlamini became the Senior Manager for Commercial and Marketing tasks.
Motlanthe was therefore miffed by the criticism and has discovered that those vying for positions often do not have the support of their regions. SAFA have even been accused of blocking candidates, some of whom falsely claim support from their regions.
"The fundamentals of our hard-fought democracy is the principle that the members in your constituency must elect their leadership," said Motlanthe, who had noticed that were candidates who were not nominated by their region.
"Apartheid tried to elect leaders for us. We rejected those leaders whether apartheid thought they were good for us. The principle of our hard-fought freedom is that members of SAFA must elect their leaders. No one has the right to impose leaders on us."
Ledwaba, the owner of the now-defunct Ria Stars, was stopped in her tracks just as he was about to launch an election campaign for the SAFA presidency. Her legal advisor warned her against going ahead with the campaign after SAFA had sent letters to all members seeking election, advising they need to be approved by the governance committee.
“We are not censoring Ria Ledwaba,” said Motlanthe. “As the association, we stand by our decision that we have done everything in line with the constitution. The letter was sent to all members and not just to Ms Ledwaba.
“We are saying they cannot start with their campaigns or present themselves to the public as candidates before the governance committee approves their candidacy.
“What if the governance committee comes out and says that they are not allowed to run for the presidential elections?"
Motlanthe said he was aware of people outside football voicing their opinions on candidates.
“People have been speaking and voicing their opinions. It’s their right," said Motlanthe. "We are saying that we cannot have people forcing decisions on SAFA. The associate members, and the special member (Premier Soccer League), will decide who must lead the organization.
“We will not entertain disgruntled former employers, politicians and some players. We respect that people have the right to voice their opinions, but the decision lies with the 52 SAFA regions and associate members.
"Everyone must just follow the constitution and take the right channels if they want to be part of the elections."