Mbeki decided to donate the $10m to FIFA - Mbalula

2015-06-05 10:07
Former South African president Thabo Mbeki (AFP)

Cape Town - Former President Thabo Mbeki was the one who decided to donate the $10m to the soccer associations of North America, Central America and the Caribbean Islands (Concacaf).

This is according to Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula, in an interview with Beeld newspaper, a day after he told reporters at a media briefing that this controversial transaction was "government's idea".

Asked how and by whom this decision was made, Mbalula replied: “President Mbeki spoke to members of the LOC (local organising committee). The president of the country is the CEO of the country.”

The then chairperson of the organising committee, Danny Jordaan, is now executive mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay metro.

“The decision is a decision of the South African government. It was implemented by SAFA (SA Football Association) in executing the policy of government in regard to the diaspora,” said Mbalula.

Beeld could not reach Mbeki's spokesperson Mukoni Ratshitanga for comment on Thursday evening.

Mbalula insisted at a media briefing on Wednesday that the money paid was not bribery. “The South African government has not paid any amount to anyone at any point for the rights to host the 2010 World Cup,” he said.

The $10m at the centre of the FIFA bribery allegations was according to SAFA channelled to Concacaf as development funds for the Diaspora Legacy Programme. FIFA has also stuck to this explanation, saying the South African government decided in 2007 to make the donation.

Up to now, nobody could say who made the decision to pay the money.

But two former ministers in Mbeki's Cabinet said they could not recall any discussions about such a government decision.

Ex-minister and now Cope leader Mosioua Lekota said he had never heard of this development programme.

“There is no way we can say this was authorised by government. Never once was anything like this discussed in that Cabinet. We didn’t know anything.

“If this (donation) was an honest thing, why didn’t they tell South Africa?

“It is nothing else but a cover up for a bribe that was indeed a bribe. It is absolutely clear to me this is nothing but a lie.”

Former minister Ronnie Kasrils said: “I have no recollection of that ever being discussed or such a decision being taken while I was in Cabinet.”

But Mbalula said this meant nothing.

“(Government) decisions can be taken through many spheres, not all decisions made by government have ever been discussed by Cabinet.”


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