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Open letter to Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana


Dear Chief

I suppose congratulations are in order. You were appointed interim President of the South African Football Association following the suspension of Kirsten Nematandani on allegations of involvement in the unfolding match fixing scandal and since this is a season of goodwill and cheer, my congratulations to you.

I guess your legal background will equip you with the necessary experience needed to negotiate the Safa ship past the rough and seemingly angry tide I see approaching on the horizon. I have no doubt in my mind that Safa is headed towards the roughest seas and the going will get even tougher in the next few months.

Sadly you do not have the luxury of time on your hands. The scandal has exploded in our faces and needs to be tackled without delay. I say this because the biennial Africa Cup of Nations tournament is due to kick off in less than 22 days. Already officials from the Confederation of African Football have started arriving in the country.

The world controlling body Fifa is also watching with keen interest from a distance. I heard that Safa is planning to set up a tribunal that will investigate the alleged involvement of Nematandani and four others mentioned in that explosive Fifa report, but is that enough to warrant us to then fold our hands and claim we have done enough?

Now, talking about the Commission of Enquiry, I was under the impression that to set up a commission will require a lot of moolah and since Safa is not that well off in terms of the green-bags, I strongly believe that it would be necessary to convene the National Executive Committee in order to approve a budget that will go towards setting up the Commission.

I stand to be corrected Chief, and sometimes in my senile state I tend to waffle off but, if the NEC is the all powerful and sole decision-making organ of Safa, are you not supposed to summon them and let them take a decision as to how is the organisation going to foot the expected R5-m to R10-m required to set up the commission?

Unless of course Chief, if as President, you have the power to just order that the required money can be sourced from that R800-m from the 2010 Fifa Legacy Trust Fund or somewhere else and if that is the case, then we do not have to worry and we can all go back to our dreary jobs and let life continue as normal.

Except these are not normal times. I have been out of the country quite a lot lately and hear that you said everything was under control. I really would like to believe that. However, I suffer from panic attacks and if anybody can claim that our football is not in a crisis, then yes, I would calm down.

What concern me more Chief, is the reluctance to convene the NEC. I would have thought it was the right thing to do. But then I realised that perhaps you are scared that you could be forced to relinquish one of your two positions. Am I right or wrong Chief?

You see, I seem to recall that when South Africa hosted the 1996 Afcon, the late Stix Morewa was the President of Safa and in terms of the rules, was not allowed to be chairman of the Local Organising Committee.

And during the Fifa 2010 World Cup, Molefi Oliphant was President of Safa, yet Dr Irvin Khoza was chairman of the LOC. For the 2013 Afcon, Nematandani was president of Safa and there was a furore when it was pointed out that he could not bechairman of the LOC as well and some people hinted at conspiracy theories and a possible sidelining of Nematandani while others claimed a silent palace coup!

But now that you have assumed the duties of Safa President while at the same time being chairman of the 2013 Afcon LOC, doesn’t it constitute conflict of interest? Is this the reason why there is a reluctance to summon the Safa NEC Chief, because they will rule that you have to choose between your two positions?

Chief, let us not fiddle while our country burns. I respect you not because of your intelligence and your legal mind but also as a leader and so, do the right thing and summon the NEC. It is called corporate governance!


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