The #blacklivesmatter protests in the US this last week offer us gut-wrenching background upon which to continue the 3rd instalment of our dissection of a report titled “Governance challenges at SAFA” which was authored by erstwhile South African Football Association (SAFA) CEO, Dennis Mumble.
FIFA, the organization whose SG Mme. Fatma Samoura disbanded its own anti-racism taskforce with extreme prejudice, has this week clarified its position on the anti-racism campaigns being carried out globally by FIFA clubs and players in support of the murdered George Floyd.
FIFA has always held that political symbols and slogans on official match-wear was prohibited, but appears to have made an exception in this case, stating that “it will support any campaign that will stop racism” before adding that “FIFA understands the depth of sentiment and concerns expressed by many footballers in the light of the tragic circumstances of the Floyd case”…
Samoura, at the time of disbanding the anti-racism taskforce 3 years ago, had brazenly stated that its work was done and racism was gone forever, and the World better.
Consider the social media campaign this last week, with FIFA attempting to align itself with global common sense, which has seen all World top leaders weigh in on the side of anti-racism and millions demonstrate in the streets despite an on-going pandemic.
Must Gianni Infantino’s FIFA always be caught out on the wrong side of history?
But racism on the African continent is more tragic than one could imagine.
To call SAFA President Danny Jordaan a tragicomic character would be an understatement.
For instance, in August 2017 he cornered his own CEO Dennis Mumble and told him that two of the SAFA Vice-Presidents Lucas Nhlapo and Elvis Shishana had complained to him that SAFA was suffering from a perception problem since the two people being constantly highlighted in media interviews just happened to be of mixed race.
The two persons of mixed race in question were himself (Danny Jordaan) and his CEO Dennis Mumble.
Obviously Jordaan wanted Mumble to scale down his media appearances on the pretext that the VPs would continue to complain, a claim that both VPs vehemently denied ever making, when confronted.
Who are the two most authoritative people in SAFA, from whom the media can glean crucial technical and other information, if not the CEO and President?
But in this case, the President seems to want to eliminate the CEO from the visibility that automatically comes with his position, meaning that the President usurped all roles of information dissemination at SAFA, even the critical technical information that are not his forte.
Mumble was never invited to a press conference or editorial briefing conducted by the President – even when the issues Jordaan discussed with the media involved the CEO’s responsibilities.
Mumble was however once called by Jordaan’s PA to meet him at Fun Valley where he stumbled upon a fully laid-out press conference, to provide an overview of the Association’s achievements for the 2017 calendar year.
Jordaan made a woeful presentation, prepared by the Communications Department, which outlined mostly administrative matters. Mumble had never been consulted, nor informed about this press conference, and when he was asked to join Jordaan at the high table, he declined as a matter of principle.
Instead, Jordaan called Ms Nomsa Mahlangu, a former NEC member and CAF match commissioner, to fill the empty chair that was adjacent a few other Council Members who were also present, at his invitation.
This decision was two-fold, the first being to use Ms. Mahlangu as a prop, being that she is both female and BLACK, she would be perceived as being the balance SAFA needed in terms of both gender and race, without herself being a political threat to the thin-skinned Jordaan.
The second reason, staged by Jordaan would be to publicly attempt to humiliate and emasculate Mumble in the eyes of the NEC members and media, by having him present as he made his utterly childlike presentation to the media.
To be told to your face that you cannot carry out your mandate on the basis of the colour of your skin is an extremely insensitive and inappropriate thing to say to a person of mixed race in the Rainbow Nation based on its painful history, considering too that Mumble has solid anti-apartheid credentials which led to his own 18-year exile.
Was Danny Jordaan so scared that the exact same the attributes and path that made him so appealing for the top football seats in the country over 25 years are remarkably identical to those found in Mumble (including being of mixed race) and that this made Mumble an existential threat to his presidency?
The same Jordaan who, while serving as both SAFA and SA 2010 LOC CEO, had secretly written a letter to FIFA SG Jerome Valcke on December 10th 2007, authorizing him to make advance payments of bribes to members of the FIFA Executive committee from the anticipated FIFA financial support expected during the FIFA World Cup 2010.
Whilst then SAFA President Dr. Molefi Oliphant would later write a LOC-mandated letter authority a few months later, he only came to learn of the Jordaan letter years later, from the fallout over FIFAgate and was even more shocked at Jordaan’s duplicity when he learnt that the then FIFA SG Valcke had, on strength of Jordaan’s letter of authority, already paid out upwards of $3 million of the intended $10 million bribe.
Because he had the temerity to undermine his own SAFA President while serving as CEO, Jordaan lives in constant paranoia that others will undermine him.
But that is not where his racism ends, Jordaan uses skin colour both as a shield and an Assegai (throwing spear made famous by Zulu King Shaka).
Sometime during late 2008, Danny Jordaan (as CEO of both SAFA and SA 2010 LOC) began his efforts to “clean up” SAFA to ensure that the “World Cup profits be put to use for the benefit of South African football development.”
Thousands of SAFA members took this message seriously and joined the effort. They genuinely believed a new leadership would deliver greater levels of development, world-class expertise and humble leadership to the country’s largest sporting code.
A fundamental principle adopted by the new leadership was that the 2010 FIFA World Cup profits should not be used to benefit individuals as football service has always been voluntary. Everyone appeared to believe in this principle.
SAFA was well on its way to leaving behind the cult of personality that bedeviled South African football in the 80s and 90s, through a series of democratization projects, such as, more engagement with SAFA’s Members, building a stronger regulatory framework and aligning SAFA’s statutes with those of the FIFA Statutes.
Financial probity became a centre-piece of this new vector, with EY being appointed in 2012, at the request of Dr Jordaan, another notch was added on the good governance totem pole.
However, when Jordaan took over as SAFA President from 2013, good governance and best practice immediately began being rolled back through the constant tinkering with the statutes and rules of SAFA in order to maintain advantage over opponents.
Self-preservation is now the dominant characteristic of leadership in SAFA – maintained through a system of “leadership with benefits” in the form of lucrative foreign assignments and acquisition of motor vehicles for Council Members.
In anticipation of the 2013 elections, Jordaan had convinced the reduced Board of the 2010 FIFA World Cup LOC and the SAFA NEC (essentially the same people on both sides) that they should buy C-Class Mercedes Benz vehicles for select NEC Members (those who had not served on the 2010 FIFA World Cup LOC Board) with the R160million surplus from the LOC’s USD423m budget.
Members were then asked to pay back the “loan” for these Mercedes Benz vehicles from their annual honoraria while they were still on the SAFA NEC, and pay back any outstanding balance in cash should they not be re-elected to the NEC in 2013.
After the first group of vehicle beneficiaries were not re-elected almost to a man, Jordaan convinced the NEC to extend loans to the newly elected NEC members, and the few remaining members from the first group, to purchase C-Class Mercedes Benz vehicles for them too. The conditions would be the same as for the first group.
Essentially he asked the newly elected NEC members to allow themselves to be granted loans for C-Class Mercedes Benz vehicles…who would say no?
That move precipitated a scramble for positions on the NEC just as is happening in the majority of African Football Associations currently. Jordaan reasoned that decent transport was one of the main impediments to football development around the country and that Regions and NEC Members needed to be given decent transport to assist in their development efforts.
And this is where thinly-disguised racism becomes apparent, Jordaan did not ask the NEC to approve loans that its members could access to develop themselves, for example, to purchase a home like any rational human being would, instead he got loans for “goods of ostentation”…
Had Jordaan been President of the predominantly white South African Rugby Union, would he have proposed such an insidious, money-wasting venture?
It underscores the white supremacist belief that you trap a monkey by putting something shiny in a gourd with a narrow upper passage, when the monkey reaches in and grabs the shiny object in its fist, it cannot pull it out since the fist is too wide for the narrow opening, and by its nature, it will not let go of the shiny object, leading to its capture.
In the above analogy, Jordaan is the white hunter, his NEC members are the monkeys while the C-Class Mercedes Benz vehicles are the shiny objects in a gourd (SAFA).
If you did a survey of the status of the Mercedes Benz vehicles with former NEC members, chances are that 90% are no longer serviceable and therefore decrepit and unusable.
A four-year revolving door in the SAFA NEC and these posers came out with a few foreign trips and a loaned Mercedes Benz!
However SAFA struggled to collect the balances from at least 5 former NEC Members from the 2009 – 2013 lot – despite several attempts to collect the money and threats to take legal action against them.
In fact, Jordaan intervened privately in several cases to stop action against them whilst paying lip service at Council meetings, demanding that SAFA collect the outstanding balances by any means possible.
In anticipation of the snap 2018 elections (meant to catch opponents off-guard) and with multiple defaults from NEC members pre-2013 and the current NEC, Jordaan anticipated another en masseexit of NEC members, and he needed to keep the newbies in check by way of a vehicle loan.
He therefore asked the Chairman of the Finance Committee (Mr. Mokoena), to negotiate with several vehicle dealerships for a sponsor-purchase deal, however none would touch SAFA with a ten-foot pole due to the reputational damage occasioned by the 2015 revelations of the FIFA $10M bribe, the rape allegations against Jordaan by former ANC nominated MP Jennifer Ferguson.
Worse, by this time SAFA finances were also fried and the Association was struggling to keep up with creditor payments, and none of the vehicle companies would supply SAFA unless on cash-only basis.
In any case by the time both Jordaan and Mumble took over at SAFA as President and CEO respectively in 2013, the organization was already in R30M cashflow deficit that had been accumulating for a number of years due in part to the ludicrously hare-brained ideas like buying NEC members Mercedes Benz vehicles.
Despite the CEO agreeing a 3-year turnaround plan approved by the Finance committee to clear this deficit, Jordaan would force SAFA to incur additional unbudgeted expenditure on a whim.
For instance, in the 2014-2015 FY, the Head Coach of the Men’s Senior National Team –Ephraim Mashaba- insisted on using a chartered aircraft for the entire team, thereby quadrupling the travel costs of the team. When Mumble declined to incur this cost, Jordaan, intervened and also insisted SAFA charter a flight as per the Coach’s request.
During that same year, the same Head Coach belligerently demanded a massive increase in his salary which Mumble declined, but Jordaan pushed that he reconsider because of the reputational cost of the Coach if he went public on the matter.
Add to this, the unscheduled costs of R396,000 in daily allowances for Heads of Delegation, almost R3 million for the Women’s Senior National Team participation in the needless Cyprus Cup, the demand of the Women’s Senior National Team Head Coach to bring a foreign Assistant Coach at a cost of R1.4million…
These unscheduled costs nearly eliminated a healthy surplus that had planned to reduce the accumulated cashflow deficit.
Jordaan comes across as someone who doesn’t have the mettle to sit with his associates and explain the grim financial reality to them, and tell them that the organization is on a different path.
How then can this man be expected to lead this highly complex organization?
Jordaan is even unable to separate his various separate political roles with the SAFA Presidency, which is one of the reasons why most countries decree that anyone who holds the football Presidency cannot also hold a political position.
When Jordaan was appointed by the ANC to be the Executive Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay in 2015, he still retained the SAFA Presidency.
Nelson Mandela Bay just also happened to be a part-debtor to SAFA for the approx. R2.8 million for their contribution to the hosting of the 2013 AFCON, and when he became Mayor, Jordaan insisted that SAFA collect the debt, even asking the SAFA Head of Security, Protocol & Accreditation, be seconded to him as his Chief of Staff.
It was this man who was tasked with negotiating with the city manager about the debt, which he thankfully got acknowledged. Mumble then approached Jordaan to execute the repayment but was shocked when the SAFA President cum Mayor flipped on him with extreme prejudice, telling him that no such repayment would be made since he had already approved a budget, and the SAFA line item was not in it.
Apparently, Jordaan recognizes budgets for his political roles but ignores those of SAFA, what is it with this man? Dementia?
After hosting the FIFA World Cup 2010, South Africa hosted the AFCON 2013 and CHAN 2014, you would think that this is enough for a cash-strapped Association but no, Jordaan unilaterally committed SAFA to hosting the April 2016 African Futsal Championship at the request of CAF since CAF could not secure an alternative host for the tournament.
Unlike the FIFA competition structure where the World football governing body arrives with its own budgets for all its competitions, CAF tournament costs are borne exclusively by the host, and in the absence of Government support, SAFA had to find the funds to foot this bill too.
However, Jordaan wanted to contest the FIFA Council seat for the Anglophone region of Africa and blind ambition compelled him to throw caution to the wind with regard to SAFA finances.
In his mind, the hosting of this tournament in South Africa would coincide with the vote for FIFA Council seat, and he figured that hosting power would drive votes his way.
Unfortunately, the FIFA Ethics committee refused to clear 3 candidates for that election, namely Chabur Goc (South Sudan), Kalusha Bwalya (Zambia) and Danny Jordaan (South Africa) due to ongoing investigations.
At the time, Jordaan was under suspicion for the bribery scandal where he authorized payment of $10 million to members of the FIFA Exco in 2007.
He however left in his wake a bill of R18million for this tournament, which was expenditure not included in the 2015-2016 budget that had been approved in June 2015 and also since the CAF marketing agency Lagardere Sports could not get a single sponsor from the over 100 South African companies that they had approached.
It must be noted that out of the top 20 African companies, at least half are from South Africa, and for them to refuse to be associated with SAFA and the futsal tournament, coming as it did, on the back of bribery and rape allegations against Jordaan, is quite telling.
He can lie and obfuscate the facts through clumsy PR (like trying to pawn off the rape allegations to PSL Chairman Irvin Khoza) but clearly, the big companies were not buying it.
And they spoke with their money!
We hate to admit it but FIFA really did dodge a bullet with the election of Walter Nyamilandu (instead of Danny Jordaan) to the FIFA Council seat for Anglophone Africa, because Jordaan would likely have projected his covert racism and financial illiteracy to a governing body already limping from the actions of its uppity SG Fatma Samoura and the official policy of corruption by its President Gianni Infantino.
And what a shame for those mixed race South Africans, like the celebrated Trevor Noah, that Jordaan is still allowed to be at the helm of South African football, after rape and bribery allegations were made againt him, yet he uses racism to maintain a grip on power.