Cape Town - Fikile Mbalula has again denied that the South African government or 2010 Local Organising Committee (LOC) paid a bribe to secure the hosting of the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa.
"We would like to categorically deny that we bribed anyone to secure the rights for the 2010 World Cup." Mbalula told a packed SAFA house on Wednesday.
The press conference got underway more than half an hour late and there was a major change to the lineup as neither SAFA officials or 2010 LOC members were present at the press conference despite the initial SAFA media invitation stating that "Min of Sport, Fikile Mbalula & members of 2010 WC LOC will hold Press Conference at SAFA House (12h00) on Wed 3 June".
Mbalula's second press conference on the matter came shortly after FIFA hastily arranged for Sepp Blatter to speak to the world's media on Wednesday, where he shocked the football world by announcing his resignation after 17 years in charge of the football organisation.
Mbalula started off by responding sharply to questions as to why the LOC was not in attendance.
"The LOC was disbanded. It has served its purpose," said the embattled Sports and Recreation Minister.
Mbalula said that the South African government stands by its May 31 statement wherein government refuted any and all claims that South Africa was involved in any bribes whatsoever.
"The government of South Africa has not paid anyone to secure the rights of the 2010 World Cup" said Mbalula.
Regarding the allegation that the $10m payment was a bribe to secure votes that would secure the 2010 Soccer World Cup be hosted in South Africa, Mbalula said: "The payment of $10m to an 'above board' programme does not constitute a bribe."
The Sports Minister said that government is still waiting on a response from a query regarding the indictment but "we have not yet heard back from the US authorities and have asked them to contact us."
"We refuse to get caught up in a battle between the United States authorities and FIFA. FIFA must speak for FIFA."