Johannesburg - It seems the SA Football Association (Safa) will go to any lengths to oppose any move to disclose any information that will prejudice it in the Bafana Bafana match-fixing scandal.
This is contained in its affidavit in response to the court order to furnish former chief executive Leslie Sedibe with the documentation and reports he has requested.
A fortnight ago, the Johannesburg High Court gave Safa 10 days to provide Sedibe with the information he says he needs to prove his innocence.
Safa submitted some of the information, but stated in its responding affidavit that it would go to court to defend any motion to disclose all the reports in its possession.
“Should the plaintiff [Sedibe] wish to procure the unredacted documents, the plaintiff must apply for an order to this effect, which application the defendant [Safa] will oppose,” it said.
In its response to Sedibe’s application, Safa said some reports were of “a highly confidential nature and if the defendant were to make them available in unredacted form, this would cause significant prejudice to it”.
“In the circumstance, while the defendant has discovered them via the schedule, the documents will be provided with the confidential parts of the documents redacted,” read part of the response.
Safa further stated that it did not have “all such reports in its possession as it appears that various reports were not provided by the plaintiff to the defendant”.
This has irked Sedibe, who has decided to go back to court to force the association to produce all the reports.
“Safa has dismally failed to comply with the court order and I have instructed my attorneys to bring an application for contempt of court. The law must take its course,” said Sedibe.
“It is clear that it is hiding something from me and the public. Safa’s response represents a classic case of malicious compliance. It is nothing short of demonstrating utter contempt for the presiding judge, and makes a mockery of our judicial system and court processes. All I want – like any citizen – is for my inherent right to dignity to be respected and protected.
“In terms of article 39 of the Fifa Code of Ethics under the heading Right to be Heard, the rules state: ‘The parties shall be granted the right to be heard, the right to present evidence, the right for evidence leading to a decision to be inspected, the right to access files and the right to a reasoned decision.’
“Fifa’s decision to impose a ban on me remains a clear violation of my rights to due process as required in terms of article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.”
Safa lawyer James Ndebele yesterday said Sedibe’s claim against Safa “is without merit”.
“Regrettably, instead of bringing the claim to finality, Mr Sedibe delayed the outcome of the litigation. While it is correct that the judge made an order requiring Safa to make available certain additional documents, Safa has indeed done so. Some of the documents have been made available subject to redactions to protect confidential information – this is perfectly lawful,” he said.