THE ATTEMPTS TO DESTABILISE THE SOUTH AFRICAN FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION
News,29 March 2018, SAFA
Dear Honourable Members,
It is never an easy task to write to you about a sustained, deliberate attempt to destabilise the South African Football Association and all of its Members.
Since the onset of the election campaign season in the Association, we have endeavoured to create an environment wherein candidates for elective office can engage in reasoned debate on matters important to the growth and development of South African football.
As instructed by Congress on 3 December 2017, we conducted a credible process to ensure that our Members’ directive is carried out in accordance with the SAFA Statutes, Rules and Regulations.
However, this hope for a cordial atmosphere for candidates to debate the issues important to the growth and development of football has been severely compromised by forces whose publicly stated objective is to ensure no elections take place as directed by Congress and that the SAFA brand is tarnished by unsubstantiated allegations of impropriety, theft, looting and financial mismanagement and to promote discord amongst SAFA Members. This is done to induce the financial downfall of the Association.
It is therefore incumbent upon us to set the record straight in respect of these allegations against the Association in the past few weeks by those who lack comprehension of the structure and function of South African football.
This letter is therefore written to enable our members to respond to queries from the media in an informed way.
1. The Defamatory Statements by Non-Members of SAFA
At first, individuals who are not members of SAFA at any level, made their intentions to run for office very clear through press conferences, in the process besmirching the name of the Association. We immediately took legal action to demand a retraction from them, but each of the members of the National Football Consultative Forum (NFCF) cowardly denied, through their lawyers, that they were members of this platform. However, photographic and video evidence confirms their membership of this rogue structure.
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The Association followed up with legal action against the so-called head of the National Football Supporters Association (NAFSA), who made seriously defamatory statements to the media and others against the President of the Association and the Association itself. This matter will be pursued to its conclusion in court.
Suffice it to say that NAFSA has never placed a single supporter in a stadium for any national team or PSL or 2nd Division club in this country. In truth, NAFSA was started by Saddam and the late Mzion, and Saddam has distanced himself from the usurpers of the NAFSA name.
This group of non-members also included someone who called himself a member of the South African Football Supporters Association (SAFSA). In 2011/12, when they tried to register the SAFSA name to illegally benefit from the SAFA brand name for profit, expecting to make millions, the Association successfully opposed that illegal profit-making scheme and won that case. They therefore have no right to use the SAFSA name as the intellectual property rights belong to SAFA.
Among the non-members at this press conference was one Mwelo Nonkonyana, who was expelled from the Association through a unanimous vote by the SAFA Congress in 2014.
Having lost all of his court battles against the Association or its Members at least 8 times, with costs, and never having paid these costs, the Association has issued writs of execution to collect these costs through the seizure of his property/assets through the Sheriff of the Court. The process of attaching his property to recoup the outstanding costs is underway.
2. The Malicious Disinformation Campaign Against SAFA
Not content with making a mockery out of the SAFA election process and disrespecting the wishes of SAFA Members to elect the leaders of their choice, the campaign changed gear to engage the electoral process and, once achieved, to discredit it from within the electoral platform.
The campaign waged in the public domain did not address the issues to promote and develop South African football, but instead centred around a personalised smear campaign and false claims that Members were wrong to call for elections. This campaign was supported by a small band of journalists who are known to us and who gave the campaign all the space it required.
The campaign has variously been defamatory, filled with lies, hateful statements and calculated to sow confusion by couching statements in pseudo-legal jargon intended to cast doubt over the processes followed by the Association.
It is for this reason that we outline below in some detail the falsehoods that have been propagated by this sponsored campaign to enable Members to defend the integrity of the Association by engaging their local media directly.
1. The False Claim About the Umkhanyakhude Motion Submitted to Congress in December 2017:
It is claimed that the Umkhanyakude motion submitted to Congress in December 2017 was incorrectly submitted and that there is no constitutional provision to extend the term of the executive of the Association:
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The decision to realign the SAFA election cycle was taken at two consecutive congresses in 2015. This meant that the term of office of the executive had to be adjusted in this alignment process.
The decision was taken unanimously by Members in a duly constituted Congress (the supreme governing and legislative body of the Association as contemplated in Article 19 of the SAFA Statutes). Members have an established legal right, in terms of the Companies Act, backed up by case law1, to amend the rules of the organisation by unanimous assent.
The decision of Congress was never contested since it was taken in 2015 because it was a clear expression of the wishes of the Members of SAFA. Opposition to it only emerged during this election campaign – two years later.
2. The Deceitful Statement of the Decision to Change the Elective Congress to March 2018:
It is alleged that because the Umkhanyakude motion was not discussed by the SAFA Council and that it could not have been placed before the December 2017 Congress because it was not on the agenda of the Congress and that the convocation notice for the Extraordinary Congress was never sent to Members.
The convocation notice was sent via Circular #3 – Convocation Notice and Agenda sent to Members on 3 November 2017.
Members have the right to submit motions directly to Congress without having it cleared by the SAFA Council and this was duly done. The SAFA Council does not have the right to veto a submission from a SAFA Member in good standing.
The SAFA Umkhanyakude motion was submitted by the Regional Executive Officer 3 days after the deadline for submission and the motion was circulated to Members on 27 November 2017 via Circular #8 – 2018AC.
The item was also on the agenda of the December 2017 Congress, under Item 16a. The Ordinary Congress Agenda is prescribed by Article 27.7 of the SAFA Statutes and it makes provision for Motions Submitted by Members. Ignorance of this basic fact is an indication that the proponents of this lie have never attended a SAFA Congress.
The Umkhanyakude motion was circulated to the SAFA Council and all SAFA Members on 27 November 2017 with a request from SAFA Umkhanyakude to condone the late submission in terms of Article 27.6 of the SAFA Statutes. This type of condonation has been done for as long as SAFA has been in existence. The record will reflect that Congress duly condoned the late submission by SAFA Umkhanyakude via Resolution #13 of the Minutes of the 3 December 2017 Ordinary Congress.
Selective reading of Article 27 is therefore done maliciously.
1 (cf. Quadrangle Investments (Pty) Ltd v Witind Holdings Ltd 1975 (1) SA 572 (A))
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3. The False Contention that LFAs, Regions and Provinces Were Not Properly Aligned:
It is alleged that many Regions and LFAs have been excluded from participating in the regional congresses without valid reasons.
This was never reported to any SAFA tribunal/committee and was maliciously presented to the media before being ventilated in the proper platform in the Association.
It is alleged that none of the 9 provinces have held provincial congresses as prescribed by SAFA and the Provincial Statutes.
This matter was addressed in Circular #5 – 2018EC – Clarification – Submission of Nominations for Provincial List Candidates sent to Members on 15 February 2018.
It is alleged that the Provincial Statutes prescribe that provincial nominations should be submitted to provincial auditors and that none of the Provinces have auditors.
This is a lie and calculated to mislead the public as it was presented only to the media and not to any tribunal within the Association to examine the veracity of this claim.
4. The False Allegations About the SAFA Auditor:
It has been alleged that SAFA’s auditors were not properly appointed and that they had resigned before the nominations process started and were therefore not authorised to handle the nominations.
The auditors were appointed by way of Resolution #15 of the 28 September 2013 Ordinary Congress for a period of one year.
The auditors were appointed by way of Resolution #13 of the 11 October 2014 SAFA Ordinary Congress for a period of one year.
The auditors were appointed by way of Resolution #13 of the 12 December 2015 Ordinary Congress for a period of 2 years.
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The auditors were appointed by way of Resolution #14 of the 3 December 2017 Ordinary Congress for a final year.
5. The False Claims About the Electoral Committee:
It is alleged that the Electoral Committee must be elected by the general assembly only in terms of Article 4(1) of the SAFA Electoral Code and that it must be done 6 months before the elective general assembly.
This is a deliberate misrepresentation of this clause of the Electoral Code. The proponents maliciously omit the words “or the body that represents it [Congress] between congresses”, meaning that the SAFA Council can also elect the Electoral Committee.
Additionally, this provision (Article 4.3 of the Electoral Code) only refers to the general assembly that has to elect the Electoral Committee 6 months before, and not to “the body that represents it between congresses”.
Whilst it is preferred that Congress elect the Electoral Committee, Article 86 of the SAFA Statutes and Article 4(3), read in conjunction with Article 4(1) of the Electoral Code, makes provision for the SAFA Council to elect the Electoral Committee, especially in case of force majeure as happened by the maliciously instigated withdrawal of the IEC. The Electoral Committee has therefore been properly elected.
Articles 3 and 4 of the Electoral Code were superseded by Resolution #10 of the Extraordinary Congress of 24 August 2013, unanimously approved by Members, to elect the IEC as the Electoral Committee. In law, until that decision is repealed or the Electoral Committee resigns, the decision remains extant.
There is a further allegation that the Electoral Committee was activated late and in violation of the statutes, rules and regulations of the Association. This statement is clearly intended to mislead the uninitiated as the supreme law of the South African Football Association (the SAFA Statutes) meticulously outlines the nominations process in Article 25 and prescribes no role for the Electoral Committee in that process. Until the auditor issues its report 30 days before the elective congress, the Chief Executive Officer is mandated to facilitate the nominations process with the auditor handling the nominations exclusively.
The Electoral Committee is activated upon the issuance of the auditor’s report whereupon the eligibility checks are commenced. This is designed to maintain the integrity of the nominations and elections processes by two distinct entities. All pre-nomination processes are within the constitutional mandate of the Chief Executive Officer as outlined in Article 25 of the SAFA Statutes.
It is alleged that “many” deadlines have been missed in the planning stages for the 24 March 2018 Congress and that the list of nominees had not been submitted to the Electoral Committee within the 7-day window provided by the SAFA Statutes.
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The IEC withdrew, as a result of unconstitutional interference, on the 2 March 2018, so nothing could be sent to the Members from that day onwards as it had not been vetted by an Electoral Committee. Therefore, the “non-compliance” was a direct result of an unconstitutional interference.
The list was submitted to the IEC upon receipt from the auditor on 7 March 2018. The IEC could not process this list because of the above-mentioned unconstitutional interference.
Otherwise, the Presidential List of Candidates was circulated and published on 24 February 2018, a few hours late due to delays from the auditor. Article 11(3) of the SAFA Electoral Code and Article 38.4 of the SAFA Statutes direct that the Presidential List of Candidates shall be published at least 30 days before the elective congress. This was duly done as noted above.
6. The Lies About the Handling of the Nominations:
It has been alleged that SAFA staff and Council Members handled nomination forms at the KPMG offices.
This is a fabrication and does not deserve further explanation!!!
7. The Misrepresentation of a FIFA Position, an Unconstitutional Constitution and the Election of Vice-Presidents:
It has been alleged that FIFA gave an instruction to reduce the SAFA executive to 18 members and that this directive had not been complied with.
It is also alleged that a provision in the SAFA Statutes is unconstitutional and that it is undemocratic to allow the SAFA Council to elect the SAFA Vice-Presidents.
This “directive” arose from a wish by the previous Secretary General of FIFA to standardise the size of executive committees in football associations around the world. This would have meant that all executive committees would be reduced to a standard size irrespective of the size of the population or the geographical dimensions of the country.
In China, for example, it would have been impractical to have an 18-member executive for a country with a population of over 1,3 billion people. Unaware of these facts, this matter is constantly raised by the uninitiated.
It is an oxymoron to allege that a provision in the duly approved SAFA Statutes is “unconstitutional.”
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For example, the Confederation of African Football (CAF), has historically allowed the President of CAF to appoint his Vice-Presidents. CAF reaffirmed that position at its Annual General Meeting in 2017 where the creation of a third Vice-President position was approved.
To characterise SAFA Members’ unanimous decision to allow the SAFA Council to elect the Vice-Presidents, is symptomatic of a dictatorial tendency that aims to instruct SAFA Members what they can and cannot vote for in a general assembly. No less than the Deputy President of the nation is appointed by the President of the country. It is therefore not undemocratic for the SAFA Council to elect the Vice-Presidents of this Association.
8. The Lack of Understanding of the Difference Between An Ordinary Congress and an Extraordinary Congress:
It is alleged that the 24 March 2018 Extraordinary Congress was irregularly convoked in that the agenda was unconstitutionally abbreviated.
This shows a remarkable lack of understanding of the SAFA Statutes by people who have held themselves up as experts on the SAFA Constitution. They fail to understand the difference between an Ordinary Congress and an Extraordinary Congress and the rules that apply to each, instead of conflating the two types of congresses.
The March 2018 elective Congress was scheduled as an Extraordinary Congress and not an Ordinary Congress. The agenda for an Ordinary Congress is prescribed in the Statutes, unlike that for an Extraordinary Congress. Since the current financial year accounts can only be audited after 30 June 2018, no auditor’s report, financial statements and Minutes of the last Congress can be given. Hence, it cannot be an Ordinary Congress.
Despite the provision that an Extraordinary Congress shall be called with no less than 30 days’ notice, the formal convocation was issued 101 days (on 13 December 2017) before the 24 March 2018 Extraordinary Congress. It is quite astounding that such a fundamental misreading of the SAFA Statutes can be made by those who profess to be “constitutional experts.” This indicates that they have not been involved in SAFA structures.
10. The Call for FIFA’s Intervention:
A call was made by a number of proponents of the destabilisation project to FIFA to intervene on their behalf.
FIFA indicated on 9 March 2018 that it will not intervene in SAFA’s internal affairs as SAFA has a sufficiently strong regulatory framework to cater for the withdrawal of the Electoral Committee.
However, this did not stop those seeking the destruction of the Association from continuing their efforts to enlist FIFA in their fight to burn down the SAFA house.
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One expelled former member has even tried, to no avail, to re-argue his expulsion case with FIFA after losing to SAFA in court 8 times in a row.
As can be seen from the few examples above, the sponsored campaign has propagated untruths, distortions, lies, fabrications and character assassination tactics in the public domain for many weeks now and has severely harmed the reputation of this Association in the result.
Since the campaign is supported by a small number of football journalists, we have been unable to counter these mischievous allegations in their publications. Invariably, the Association is called in for limited times only after the disinformation campaign has been given acres of space to promote these falsehoods.
We are very concerned that a small band of Johannesburg-based journalists from Sunday Sun, City Press, Sowetan and SABC have been colluding with those who wish to destabilise SAFA, openly granting them a platform to distribute their unsubstantiated allegations against the organisation and its leaders all around the country and yet not asking for proof or verification of the allegations being made against the Association.
We, therefore, ask all our Members to engage their local media to share the truth about how you run this organisation.
We also ask that you share the details of this circular with your local media and other stakeholders in order to dispel the malicious distortion of the facts in relation to the elective congress that was overwhelmingly approved by SAFA Members in December 2017.
The disinformation campaign is on record as saying that their objective is that (i) no elections should take place, (ii) that the President of the Association must be removed and (iii) that the Association’s unity must be undermined.
We trust that this will assist you to reveal the truth about the SAFA elections as decided by you in December 2017.
MR DENNIS A. MUMBLE
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER