Ria Ledwaba issues rallying cry to Doctor Khumalo, legends, fans on Safa

Ria Ledwaba speaks during a ress conference in response to her ban by the South African Football Association in Randburg on Wednesday.
Ria Ledwaba speaks during a ress conference in response to her ban by the South African Football Association in Randburg on Wednesday.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Former South African Football Association (Safa) vice-president Ria Ledwaba says the legends and supporters have the power to stop the rot at the ruling body and in the sport in the country.

Ledwaba addressed a press conference in Randburg on Wednesday in response to being declared “persona non grata” by Safa on March 6, a ban that was lifted in a letter to Ledwaba that she said was emailed late on Tuesday night.

Ledwaba received 27 votes challenging president Danny Jordaan, who won with 186 votes, in the 2022 Safa elective congress, which she unsuccessfully tried to challenge via arbitration at the association and in the courts.

She launched several broadsides at Safa and Jordaan on Wednesday in a briefing attended by some of her supporters, including Bafana Bafana legend Doctor Khumalo, former Safa CEOs Gay Mokoena and Leslie Sedibe and members of Ledwaba’s legal team.

At one stage Ledwaba addressed Khumalo directly.

 “We know the facts we are putting on the table are evidence. We are not just waking up saying, ‘We want to remove Danny Jordaan from office’,” she said.

“It has never been my vision to remove anyone from Safa, There is nothing that will stop me.

“I will not be silenced. I’m going to stand up because I am standing up for football. The fight that Portia [Modise, former Banyana star], the legends are putting up should not me.

“At the funeral of [former Kaizer Chiefs star and TV analyst] Siphiwe Mkhonza I said to the legends — and I’m going to say it again, Doctor — the legends of this country have got the power to change the status quo in South Africa.

“But you can only do it if you are united. This thing of being called to the [Safa] offices, and then it’s, ‘Doctor, tell me what position do you want, what national team do you want to coach?’ must stop.

“The legends must be able to say they are not going to be called by anyone in the office when the legends are out there and there’s nothing for them. There is nothing happening in schools sports. And I continue to say, and I hope the [sports] minister [Zizi Kodwa] is listening, it’s only the legends who can take schools sports to the level that we want it.

“It’s only you Doctor. If you are not going to stand up and be counted you will remain where you are, remain complaining.

“The other people who are important in our soccer are the supporters. Supporters, you don’t know the power you have.

“You have so much power that you can actually stop this rot — just the supporters. And I know that when the supporters and the legends stand up the whole of South Africa will stand up.”

Jordaan has withstood a barrage of criticism in the past 10 years including scathing reports alleging mismanagement by former Safa CEOs Gay Mokoena and Dennis Mumble and more recently a memo circulated by vice-president Gladwyn White.

The president has been the subject of an investigation by the Hawks into, among other issues, alleged irregularities in the acquisition of the Fun Valley pleasure resort in Johannesburg to serve as Safa’s national technical centre.

Ledwaba and her supporters alleged various irregularities in the 2022 elective congress.

The latest drama surrounding Ledwaba’s rescinded ban comes within a fortnight of the Hawks raiding Safa House in Nasrec in connection with allegations of fraud and theft amounting to R1.3m linked to Jordaan.

Jordaan is in Algeria accompanying Bafana for their friendlies against Andorra on Thursday and Algeria on Tuesday (both 11pm SA time).


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