Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula says South Africa should not be used as a battle ground between Fifa and the United States of America.
Speaking at a media briefing to respond to damning allegations that have surfaced in the Fifa scandal, implicating South Africa in a widespread bribery and racketeering investigation, Mbalula said he and his department have refused to be caught up in a battle between the US and Fifa, and that the world football governing body must speak for themselves.
“We refuse to be caught in the middle of a battle between Fifa and the United States authorities,” said Mbalula.
He said South Africa had no problem with the US investigation. He said they would help the US authorities in fighting corruption and maintained the $10 million was towards a project which was above board and not a bribery.
“We don’t have a problem with the United States of America. In fact, they will find allies in us. They do what is within their right as a federal government.
“We fought colonialism and imperialism and we are still fighting it. We believe in multilateralism and not unilateralism,” said Mbalula.
“They can wake us up anytime, we will be ready. I’m ready to explain to them how this money was done and why it was done in the manner it was done.
“We will not be collateral damage in the battles in the geopolitical space.”
Mbalula insisted the money paid was not a bribery.
“The South African government has not paid any amount to anyone at any point for the rights to host the 2010 World Cup,” reiterated Mbalula.
He called on the US Department of Justice to provide evidence that South Africa offered a bribe to secure the 2010 World Cup, saying they would not interfere with the US authorities investigations.
“We are not opposed to the investigation and we don’t want to stand in their way and it’s for this reason that our call remains that they share the evidence on which they base their allegations that negatively impact on the reputation of South Africa.”
Mbalula also said if anybody was found guilty of corruption related to the 2010 hosting of the Fifa World Cup, they would be prosecuted.