Already under fire for attempting the complex task of combining his duties as
SAFA president with those of mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality,
Danny Jordaan has ironically provided
his detractors with further damning ammunition.
The mounting pressure on Jordaan has emanated from his
last-minute decision not to attend the fateful FIFA congress in Zurich last
week at which the highly controversial Sepp Blatter was re-elected for a fifth
term as president - only to resign four days later amid allegations of his
involvement in one way or another in the massive bribery allegations that have
blighted world soccer's controlling body over the past 10 days.
Jordaan explained his surprise decision to miss out on
one of the most fateful meetings in FIFA history, where his presence should
have been mandatory, to the fact that in his role of mayor he had told members
of the Nelson Mandela Bay Council that travel costs needed to be cut by the
"It would have seemed contradictory if I then travelled
to Zurich immediately afterwards," the dual mayor-president reportedly
explained in an interview.
But with the costs to go to the FIFA congress for his
still-born attendance due to be paid by the South African National Football
Association (SAFA), Jordaan's explanation only provided striking evidence as to
how his mayoral duties were proving
detrimental to the interests of SAFA -
with their main man skipping out on what was clearly a critical occasion for
world soccer generally and South Africa in particular.
The SAFA president poo-pooed the suggestion that he had
skipped going to Zurich for fear of being interrogated by Swiss or United
States investigators into the bribery scandal - or even arrested along with
other FIFA officials if it was alleged he had
played a part in the redirecting of R120 million of FIFA money for the
2010 World Cup to now-suspended and charged former Concacaf president and
disgraced FIFA vice-president Jack Warner.
"How could I be arrested when I have not even been
charged or linked to any bribery issues?" asked the SAFA president.
Some observers, however, have pointed out that the United
States Department investigating the FIFA bribery scandal have claimed two as
yet unnamed top South African soccer officials had handed Warner's son a
case of 10 000 US dollar bills at a
clandestine meeting in Paris.
As yet, neither of the two South Africans have been named
by the USA investigators, with South African Minister of Sport, Fikile Mbalula,
denying at a media briefing in Johannesburg on Wednesday that neither the
government or the South African World Cup Organising Committee had been
involved in bribery while obtaining the right from FIFA to stage the 2010 World
"We are seeking further evidence and clarification
from the United States regarding their investigation into bribery involving
members of FIFA and South Africa," added the Minister of Sport,
"because we know nothing about this matter and have never been involved in
Mbalula did, however, admit that in correspondence from
former SAFA president, Molefi Oliphant, FIFA had been authorised to allocate
$10 million to Warner for the development of soccer in the Concacaf region.
"But this was not a bribe," said Mbalula.
"It was an authorised and legitimate payment from money allocated from the
World Cup budget."
Why Concacaf? To assist in the soccer development of the
African diaspora in the Caribbean, said Mbalula.
However, nothing was revealed as to who, if anyone else,
had authorised Oliphant to send the $10 million request to FIFA for
the ongoing distribution to Warner and Concacaf.
Also, while notices advertising the Sport Department media conference in Johannesburg had stated
members of the World Cup Organising Committee would be present, none attended.