Bring it on, says DA MP after Safa, Jordaan hand him legal red card
Tsepo Mhlongo called for Safa’s NEC to be disbanded after a report by its former acting CEO was leaked
The South African Football Association (Safa) and its president, Danny Jordaan, have given the DA’s shadow sports minister, Tsepo Mhlongo, an ultimatum — retract, by Friday, “unfounded remarks and defamatory statements” or face legal action.
The MP was last week slapped with a lawyers’ letter instructing him to apologise and withdraw statements he made against the Safa president in April.
But a defiant Mhlongo laughed off the letter on Monday, dismissing it as “a desperate attempt to silence me”.
He insisted he would not be intimidated and argued that Safa should not pay to fight Jordaan’s battles.
“I will not retract any statement whatsoever. I will not be intimidated by Safa and Jordaan using federation money to take legal action against me.
“I will continue doing my job without fear or favour and within the confinement of my duties‚” said Mhlongo‚ adding that he would release full statement on Monday afternoon.
The spat began after Mhlongo called for Jordaan’s suspension in comments published in the media in the wake of a damning leaked report from former acting CEO Gay Mokoena in April.
The report contained harsh criticism of how Jordaan allegedly ruled Safa with an iron fist‚ with dissent apparently frowned upon within the organisation.
I will not retract any statement whatsoever. I will not be intimidated by Safa and Jordaan using federation money to take legal action against me.DA shadow sports minister Tsepo Mhlongo
Their tiff entered the political domain, with the DA in parliament calling for the Safa boss’s head.
“The DA calls for his suspension and investigation into this matter to be conducted by reputable and independent legal practitioners. This will ensure that the findings and recommendations made to the Safa board on the future of Jordaan are objective and unquestionable. Breaking corporate governance principles mean he is a one-man show and that amounts to corruption tendencies.
“The Safa (national executive committee) should be blamed for allowing itself to be part and parcel of maladministration. The whole (committee) deserves to be dissolved and disbanded all together because it does not follow its own constitution. Jordaan is not fit to lead Safa in this era‚” Mhlongo said in April.
Safa and Jordaan‚ through lawyers‚ denied the allegations and said the comments were made with the intention to defame.
The lawyers said Mhlongo’s comments were understood by those who heard or read them to mean Safa and its president were corrupt‚ lacked integrity and were involved in apparent maladministration of the organisation.
“As a result of your remarks and allegations‚ our clients have suffered and continue to suffer harm to their reputation.”
Safa and Jordaan demanded Mhlongo publicly withdraw his comments and post an apology on his social media platforms. They said his allegations were “malicious‚ reckless and negligent”.
“To this end‚ kindly be informed that should you not carry out the above by no later than Friday 28 August 2020‚ our clients will exercise in law in pursuit of justice.”
MPs are protected by parliamentary privilege that shields them from being made to retract comments they make in the house.
But Safa and Jordaan are of the view that that privilege does not apply in this case.
Safa spokesperson Dominic Chimhavi told Times Select on Monday the association had no comment beyond what is entailed in their letter of demand to Mhlongo.