DA accuses SAFA of buying votes with over R20 million honorarium

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The Democratic Alliance (DA) has lambasted the South African Football Association (SAFA’s) decision to award its National Executive Members R20.8 million as an honorarium. The DA has accused SAFA hierarchy of buying votes ahead of the elections at the end of next month. The Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa was taking questions during his budget vote in a virtual session on Thursday.

The cash-strapped football association last week awarded its NEC members R20.8 million for their supposedly professional services. The association reportedly gave each of the 40 NEC members R520 000 each, despite struggling to meet its own financial obligations.

The DA has questioned the timing of awarding the bonuses. It comes just ahead of the association’s presidential elections at the end of next month.

“We have a minister that is not developing sport, he has remained silent and quiet regarding payment of R21 million for SAFA, why is the minister so silent, each NEC member will be getting a bonus of R520 000, it’s uncalled for minister. We want administrators that will put South Africa first not self-centered administrators, no to selfishness and self-interest,” says Tsepo Winston Mhlongo, DA MP.

South African Football legend, Doctor Khumalo hit out at SAFA for denying former Bafana Bafana players a chance to lead the organisation. For years now, the country has been calling for a change in the SAFA leadership with former players touted for leadership positions. However, this hasn’t been the case since SAFA hierarchy adopted rules and policies that side-line those with no credentials.

“SAFA is not respecting our former players, soccer won’t be better in SA if our soccer players are not part of SAFA. I support Doctor Khumalo’s view on this issue, SAFA must use this money to develop sports in rural areas such as Edutywa and Msikisiki, and we should focus on sports being accessible and available to everyone,”  Mhlongo explains.

However, the Sports Ministry distanced itself from SAFA’s internal issues.

“And on issues related to what you said about SAFA NEC that’s their decision as NEC of SAFA. Administratively and a minister, just as a little education, is barred from getting involved through section of the act which is passed by members of Oarliament,” says Mthethwa.

The SAFA elections are set for the 25th of June.