Hawks’ raid means Safa will finally have its day in court

Hawks’ raid means Safa will finally have its day in court
Danny Jordaan during the international friendly match between South Africa and DR Congo at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on 12 September 2023. (Photo: Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images)

The South African Football Association has always maintained there is nothing untoward happening at the organisation. Now it can try to prove this in court.

According to the presumption of innocence principle, everyone is innocent until proven otherwise. This certainly applies to South African Football Association (Safa) president Danny Jordaan as well.

Nevertheless, even in his presumed innocence, there is the question of whether having someone who has been followed by a dark cloud for large chunks of his 10-year tenure as president is good for the association, or even for South African football as a whole.

Hawks strike

In the latest instalment of troubles for Safa, the South African Police Service’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, the Hawks, initiated a search-and-seizure operation at Safa’s headquarters in Nasrec on 8 March.

The Hawks said they were executing warrants related to allegations of “fraud and theft amounting to R1.3-million” at Safa, although many more millions have allegedly been squandered by the association since Jordaan was elected president in 2013.

This includes the hiring of a security company supposedly as a personal guard for Jordaan in the lead-up to the 2018 Safa elections. Former Safa chief executive Dennis Mumble, who ascended to the seat the same year that Jordaan was elected president, alleged that not all due processes had been followed in the hiring of the security company.

Read more in Daily Maverick: The Hawks swoop in at Safa House following claims of malfeasance and corruption

“Coupled with an abusive‚ intimidating‚ intolerant personality and a propensity of a president who delights in belittling people in public, the association is on a road to a divided state that could prove difficult to repair,” Mumble added in a report released in 2020.

Safa dismissed the allegations levelled at it and Jordaan by its former CEO. It emphasised that, during his five years (2013 to 2018) at the association, Mumble had not flagged such issues.

“We must place on record that Mr Mumble’s document to Safa NEC members is littered with contradictions. He reported to the Safa national executive committee (NEC) and congress. [He] submitted glowing reports to the NEC and congress during his tenure,” Safa stated.

There is also the matter relating to the recruitment of a public relations company, which was allegedly roped in to spruce up Jordaan’s image after he was accused of rape by former ANC member of Parliament Jennifer Ferguson in 2017. The incident was said to have taken place 24 years previously.

As it had done when questioned on these issues in the past, Safa responded to a series of articles by Daily Maverick on the dark cloud that hangs over the association by claiming there was nothing untoward about any of the contracts with either the security company or the PR firm. 

“Grit Communications was engaged by the association to provide public relations services during the period that Safa was under heavy … media attacks,” said Safa.

Read more in Daily Maverick: SA Football Association blasts corruption allegations levelled at Danny Jordaan-plots legal action

“The first contracted period between Grit and Safa was 1 October 2017 to 30 September 2018. The second contracted period was from 1 October 2018 to 31 August 2019. All the payments to Grit were properly authorised and were done in line with the signed contracts.

“The report issued by Grit in 2018 to the acting [CEO] details the issues that had to be dealt with, which were affecting the association’s image. We will table these in open court,” it continued.


The South African Football Association, which is headquartered in Nasrec, Johannesburg, is at the centre of claims of malfeasance and corruption. (Photo: Gallo Images)

Cause and effect

The Hawks’ operation was as a result of criminal charges laid by Willie Mooka – a former NEC member – in 2020. His actions led to his departure from South Africa’s football mother body.

“The allegations are that between 2014 and 2018, the president of Safa used the organisation’s resources for his personal gain, including hiring a private security company for his personal protection [and] a public relations company without authorisation from the Safa board,” the Hawks said.

Mooka said it had never been his intention to bring criminal charges against Jordaan. However, he had to explore that avenue when Jordaan and his loyalist NEC executives frustrated internal processes to investigate claims of theft and malfeasance.

“We took that step because we… were convinced that Safa was being turned into a milk cow for personal gain by those who wield power.

“We could not keep silent when such an important sports body was being run down and its reputation smudged by theft allegations,” Mooka said.

A number of officials who have departed from Safa have hinted that Jordaan is the primary reason, from former CEOs Mumble and Gay Mokoena to former vice-president Ria Ledwaba. Most, if not all, have been painted as bitter former employees.

Valley of doom

There is also the not-so-minor matter relating to the purchase of the Fun Valley Resort by Safa, with the aim of turning it into a world-class technical centre. It would have the best facilities and become a money-making jewel for the association.

It would cut costs relating to the booking of hotels and training facilities for the national teams. It was a grand idea.

The Fun Valley woes started when Safa is said to have splashed out R65-million on the resort, in spite of the property valuation being almost half that price. There were also allegations that Jordaan had unilaterally decided on the purchase of the property. He has always rubbished these claims – as has Safa.

In 2023, Safa chief financial officer Gronie Hluyo, who is said to be a close ally of Jordaan, told journalists that the association needed about R600-million to turn Fun Valley into what it envisioned when it bought it in 2015.

“To be frank, we don’t have R600-million lying around. But we are going to try to get funders so that we can complete the project,” said Hluyo, whose laptop was allegedly one of the items seized by the Hawks.

Safa has always maintained that there are no irregularities in how it conducts its business, insisting that it has nothing to hide and is willing to prove this in court.

With the Hawks raid, it seems its prayers have finally been answered and it will soon have its day in court. DM

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper, which is available countrywide for R29.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • jcdville stormers says:

    Danny you will get your day in court,we will see if soccer was put first ,or not

  • Kanu Sukha says:

    The author seems to be unaware that our state ‘investigative’ agencies are so ‘jacked up’ … that I will be pushing up daisies when/if this matter gets to court ! And Danny (with SAFA money) could do a JZ on us in that forum! Don’t hold your breath .

    • Malcolm McManus says:

      I think most of the commentators here will be hoping like hell that this matter gets to court very soon then. Kill two birds with 1 stone, so to speak,

  • Paul Alberts says:

    How did NMB do under Danny boy when he was the first citizen ?

  • Dermot Quinn says:

    Compare soccer and rugby as national assets and maybe we should let DJ loose on rugby and see if he can achieve similar success.
    I’m sure the ANCs deployment committee would support and “recommend” this.

  • Geoff Coles says:

    A very strong aroma always around Jordaan, not perfumed!

  • Just Me says:

    That R10m paid to the Africa Diaspora Fund (as a bribe) needs to be refunded.

  • Abel Mngadi says:

    What is so wrong with this country when people entrusted with responsibilities of looking after public interest are looking after their own interests? No accountability and consequence management. Soccer is also at a lower level because of Danny and his cohorts who seem to think they own SAFA. No vision at all except at being innovative in misspending money for their own benefit. We need younger leaders with young ideas, not the old ways of running this organisation. Please step down and let us have new leadership and new ways of thinking. Let’s give chance to the likes of Lucas Radebe and company.

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