Ria Ledwaba was forced to stay away from a press conference to announce her nomination as a candidate to be president of the South African Football Association on Tuesday, after being threatened with expulsion by Safa if she went public with her candidacy.
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Ledwaba’s lawyer Lerumo Thobejane spoke instead at the press conference at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg, explaining why he had advise Ledwaba not to attend .
“I am saying to Ria that there is nothing stopping her from coming here to address civil society, but the problem is she will be expelled (from Safa),” said Thobejane.
“So I had to make the decision to fight her expulsion in court, when other candidates are campaigning, or to allow her space. As a lawyer I don’t want to waste time fighting her expulsion, I want her candidacy to be preserved.”
These extraordinary circumstances come after Safa said that candidates were not allowed to go public with their candidacy until they had announced the nominations to challenge current Safa president Danny Jordaan.
This will only be two weeks before the elective congress, set to take place on June 25. Former Safa CEO Dennis Mumble, now a staunch opponent of the current Safa administration, succinctly explained the absurdity of such a situation.
“There is no fairness. Safa has 63 members and you have to cover every inch of the country. If you give a candidate 14 days to canvas 63 members, that is (over) 4 members per day in 14 days.
“It is impossible and deliberately set to be so.”
Jordaan has been president of Safa since 2013, and was re-elected in 2018.