We knew nothing: Ex-executive member speaks out on Safa’s $10m donation

2015-08-18 10:03
Eddie du Plooy (Supplied)

Johannesburg - Former Safa executive members are outraged that the controversial $10 million payment was made in the name of the South African Football Association, while its management apparently knew nothing about it.

In an exclusive interview with Eddie du Plooy, who was until 2009 a member of Safa’s national executive committee, he said he and some of his former colleagues were fed up with the “lie” that Safa gave the order for the $10 million (now worth nearly R130 million) to be paid to Jack Warner’s (former vice-president of Fifa) Concacaf (the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) for the so-called African Diaspora Legacy Progamme.

Du Plooy was the first former Safa board member to openly speak out to the media about this payment.

Last week a number of other former executive members – who did not want to be named – told Media24 the Safa executive never discussed the controversial payment, they never authorised it and they had never heard about the diaspora programme until this year when the Fifa scandal broke.

Du Plooy said he was taken aback when he first heard the news of the $10 million “donation”. Since then he had contacted former colleagues about it.

“Everyone I phoned – six, seven people – said they knew nothing about the donation and hadn’t heard of this diaspora programme.

“They were furious. Our integrity is now being questioned. We are seen as being part of the decision. We feel as though we have been sold out.”

Last week, City Press reported on Safa’s confirmation that, besides a single letter, Safa had no record of the “donation” and there were no documents or minutes to show that the “donation” was ever discussed or authorised by Safa, the government, Fifa or the now defunct local organising committee.

It has been alleged that South Africa paid the $10 million to ensure support for the country’s bid for the 2010 World Cup.

The South African government maintains that it was not a bribe, but a donation to Concacaf to “support and develop Africa’s diaspora”.

Board members of the local organising committee, Safa executives and government officials have been instructed to not comment on the Fifa corruption saga, and to refer all media inquiries to Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula.

But Du Plooy said he was not afraid to talk, and said it was time that South Africans knew that the donation was never discussed or approved by the Safa management.

Safa president and former head of the local organising committee, Danny Jordaan, instructed in a December 2007 letter to Fifa that $10 million of the money that South Africa would receive for hosting the tournament should be donated to Concacaf’s diaspora programme.

Du Plooy said the organising committee’s mandate was to report “all activity to the Safa management”, but Jordaan never mentioned the donation in meetings of the national executive committee.

“We knew nothing about this,” said Du Plooy.

He said he and his former colleagues were hoping that the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is investigating corruption within Fifa, would get to the bottom of things.

We want the truth to come out so that Safa’s good name will be restored, he said.

“We are walking around with a dark cloud hanging over our heads.”

Jordaan did not react to a request for comment.

Safa’s head of communication, Dominic Chimhavi, did not answer to written questions that were sent to him, and accused Media24 (in particular Beeld) of being on a “crusade to demonise African institutions”.

Read more on:    fifa bribery scandal  |  safa

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