There is no reason to summon Danny Jordaan, president of the South African Football Association (Safa), to parliament to explain the Fifa bribery scandal.
This was the decision by the parliamentary committee on sport on Tuesday, even though South Africa has become central to one of the biggest international sport scandals in history.
DA MP Solly Malatsi, in a letter to committee chairperson Beauty Dlulane, insisted that Jordaan and former Safa boss Molefi Oliphant, be summoned to Parliament as a matter of urgency to explain the controversial $10m payment to the so-called Diaspora legacy programme.
“South Africans deserve to hear the truth from the mouths of our own officials,” the letter read.
“It is high time that the individuals come forward with the critical information which will enable us to get to the bottom of the issue.”
Both Jordaan and Oliphant signed letters giving instruction that the $10m be channelled to accounts managed by Jack Warner, deposed Fifa vice-president.
American authorities are alleging this payment was a bribe to help secure the 2010 Soccer World Cup bid for South Africa.
Two weeks after news of the FIFA scandal broke, Jordaan and Oliphant have yet to break their silence on the bribery allegations.
Despite strong support from the UDM and the NFP for the DA’s request to summon Jordaan and Oliphant to Parliament, this call has fallen on deaf ears.
During a meeting where emotions often ran high, the ANC MPs in the committee strongly opposed the call and said the DA had a political agenda: they wanted to sabotage Jordaan’s mayorship of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro to secure a win for the DA.
Dlulane ruled that Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula be invited to appear before the committee – but, for now, not Jordaan, Oliphant, or anybody from Safa or the Local Organising Committee (LOC).
“I feel like a muppet here,” DA MP Darren Bergman said.
“It is not a puppet show. We are not puppets of the minister. We do not account to him.
“There is something happening, it is another cloud of corruption hanging over our heads and we need to interrogate it.
“It is time we start questioning it rather than getting information from the media. The committee, if we don’t want to be the muppet show, must get information.”
UDM MP Mncedisi Filtane said Mbalula would only be able to relay “hearsay evidence”, as he was never involved with the 2010 World Cup or the bid.
“We need someone form the LOC who was there at the time”, Filtane said.
Some ANC MPs said the committee was not at liberty to discuss the Fifa bribery scandal because it was “sub judice”, with the FBI still conducting their investigation.
Opposition MPs pointed out that no South African institution was investigting the case, and that the sub judice rule was outdated. ANC MPs were trying to use it as an excuse to not hold Safa to account, Malatsi said.
Dlulane said the committee could decide at a later stage to summon Safa, but the “the correct procedure” must first be followed.
“We want the minister to come and tell the committee because he went to the media.”
Maryna Lamprecht, Media24 Parliamentary Bureau
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