Johannesburg — Ria Ledwaba says she’s confident that she’ll win the South African Football Association presidential elections later this month, and that’s why the camp of incumbent Danny Jordaan is in panic mode.
A week ago, Ledwaba, Jordaan and the SAFA president in Tshwane Solly Mohlabeng, were cleared as the three candidates that will battle for the country’s top footballing seat at the elections on June 25.
Ledwaba didn’t waste time in airing her aims and visions for the association as she began with her manifesto at the FNB Stadium on Wednesday, while her counterparts are yet to begin with theirs.
While Jordaan appears to be in pole position to lead for another term, after being endorsed by SAFA in Limpopo already, Ledwaba has had unwavering support from ex-players and political parties as well.
Former Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana darlings Doctor Khumalo and Portia Modise are two of the host former players that have backed Ledwaba for presidency, citing that she would bring the much needed change.
Furthermore, when news surfaced that Ledwaba would oppose Jordaan, political parties such as the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Democratic Alliance (DA) threw their weights behind her.
But whether that will be enough for Ledwaba to win the elections awaits to be seen as only SAFA personnel will be allowed to vote on June 25, including the National Executive Committee members.
“I do have the support; overwhelming support,” Ledwaba argued. “I am sure that’s why there is so much panic (at SAFA). If there was no panic, there wouldn’t be all these letters that you are getting.”
After being cleared to run for the presidency, on the eve of her manifesto, Ledwaba served court papers seeking to stop the elections from taking place as scheduled for later this month.
That feat also drew a reaction from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) who said they’ll be monitoring the situation closely as SAFA has a mandate of ensuring that they run smooth elections.
There were attempts to stop the previous elections in 2018 as well, pending the investigation of Jordaan who's been accused of sexual assault 29 years ago, but that was dismissed by the court as he was elected unopposed.
Ledwaba added that Jordaan, 70, wasn’t supposed to be standing for a third term in the office, with the association’s only frailty the fact that they didn’t have that in writing by the time of the agreement.
“The preamble of the SAFA constitution, which is in line with the constitution of the South African government, says a person can lead for only two terms,” Ledwaba, who’s also Jordaan’s deputy, said.
“We had agreed on that. The unfortunate thing is that we didn’t put that in the constitution. A term is four years, and two terms are eight years. But unfortunately, we didn’t put that in the constitution.”
Failure to win the presidential elections could all but spell the end of Ledwaba’s nine-year stint with SAFA, given that her region, Capricorn, didn’t nominate her to be one of the NEC members as well.
After the amendment of the SAFA constitution at their 30th Ordinary Congress in March, it was agreed that the new SAFA boss will also elect his own deputies. The positions are currently held by Ledwaba, PSL boss Irvin Khoza and Gladwyn White.