JOHANNESBURG – SA Football Association (Safa) chief executive Dennis Mumble has confirmed the organisation will take legal action against the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), calling the body “unethical and unprofessional” following its decision to withdraw from overseeing their March 24 presidential elections.
Without an Electoral Committee, this month’s elections cannot go ahead.
In an unexpected twist on Friday evening, Ace Ncobo, who is the opposing candidate to current Safa president Danny Jordaan, claimed that he had received confirmation from the IEC that it would distance itself from the country’s football mother body up until they had “dealt with their internal issues”.
Kate Bapela, who is the IEC spokesperson, verified Ncobo’s statement hours later.
A former PSL referee and general manager, Ncobo has accused Safa of “gross violation” of several rules in the Fifa as well as CAF constitution by shifting the date of the elections (brought forward from September to March this year), failing to send him the meeting pack as he is now an eligible candidate and supplying him with the audited financial statements of the association.
“This is news to us. This is unethical and unprofessional from a body that has handled our regional elections and now suddenly feel there is something wrong when we are about to go national.” said Safa CEO Mumble on Saturday afternoon.
“The IEC has not communicated anything to us officially. I also need to find out how authentic this letter from Ace is. The people we work with in the IEC here in Johannesburg don’t know anything about this.
“They are surprised to have received the letter through Ace’s lawyers. But if it is true, then we will take the IEC to court.
“It’s unprincipled of them to reply to a candidate. They can’t unilaterally decide to terminate and withdraw from our contract.
“Just this week the IEC were still waiting for a formal objection from Ace.”
Ncobo emerged as a surprise candidate two weeks ago when he received a single nomination from the Amathole region in the Eastern Cape, while Jordaan racked up an overwhelming 52 votes (Safa has 52 regions, with the PSL a special member).
Before then, any attempts by potential candidates, among them former Bafana Bafana captain Lucas Radebe, axed national team coach Shakes Mashaba and Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana – who was fired by Safa in 2014 from his role as deputy president and national executive member – were blocked by the association’s constitution to challenge the incumbent as they were either not eligible to run or were not the preferred candidates according to the Safa structures they represent, as was the case with Mashaba.
Now this month’s elections hinges on whether Mumble will be successful by seeking legal recourse from Monday.
“Members unanimously voted to have elections in March, but now they are now being overruled by the IEC itself, which is supposed to be a neutral body,” said Mumble, who returned from a CAF symposium in Morocco on Friday to be greeted by news that Safa may have to postpone its elective congress.
“They have decided to take sides. We are shocked. It is very unprofessional to do this. The IEC did not give us an opportunity to respond to allegations by anyone.
“We were still working with the Gauteng office as recent as March 6, which was on Tuesday. There was no indication that anything was wrong.
“When I came back from Morocco I reached out to their deputy chair last night (Friday) and he said he would get back to me, but he hasn’t. They are treating us like dirt, and we are going to also take this to Parliament.”
Jordaan has been Safa president since September 2013 and is seeking a second term in office to see through Vision 2022 of the organisation.