South African Football Association (SAFA) president Danny Jordaan.
Fri 21 July 2023:
The South African Football Association (SAFA) is under the spotlight. A series of articles by an investigative journalist have unravelled allegations of corruption, mismanagement, theft and infighting at the nation’s football governing body.
“Over the past year, a number of whistleblowers came to me and said something is wrong at SAFA,” said Pauli van Wyk, an investigative journalist at Daily Maverick.
Upon further investigation into several allegations, she said, “I could see that there were causes for concern”. In the end, van Wyk discovered “a number of administrative and financial mismanagement red flags” that have since been published under a ‘Yellow Card’ series.
Mismanagement and corruption
Like many entities in South Africa, it appears the governing body of the country’s most cherished sport is mired in mismanagement and corruption. One of the effects, suggested van Wyk, was the national football team’s – Bafana Bafana – dismal performance on the global stage.
“We know that our other national teams are doing really well, winning international competitions and world cups, so what is up with soccer in South Africa and why is it that we seem to struggle?” It was the question that led her to disturbing signs of mismanagement.
“SAFA spent 49% of its total expenses [in 2022], which was around R117 million, on administration and governance as opposed to a total of R114 million on our national teams, on competitions and [their] technical centre. Clearly, the numbers do not add up.”
Another matter of concern was 2010 Fifa World Cup Legacy Trust. Nearly half a billion Rand was depleted in less than 10 years, her investigation found.
“People inside SAFA complained to me that money that was supposed to come from the National Legacy Trust to these regions and soccer teams did not end up where it was supposed to,” she said.
Van Wyk called for the establishment of a forensic investigation into the state of affairs at SAFA. This was just the tip of the iceberg.
Inayet Wadee spoke to investigative journalist Pauli van Wyk on News & Views. Listen to the full discussion here: