South Africa Minister Reiterates No Bribe Paid To FIFA
South Africa’s Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula says he is outraged by continued media reports claiming that South Africa paid a $10 million bribe to secure the rights to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
This comes after Sunday papers alleged that Port Elizabeth Mayor and South African Football Association (Safa) President Danny Jordaan confirmed that the Local Organising Committee made a payment of $10 million in 2008, but insisted it was not a bribe.
“We remain concerned at the ongoing media speculation which only plays into the hands of those whose objective is to tarnish the good name and integrity of our country.
“We reject these falsehoods with the contempt they deserve. As a government and people of South Africa we are enjoined to combat such propaganda against our country.
“Any inferences drawn from the statements attributed to Dr Danny Jordaan which seeks to insinuate that our position is contradictory is therefore not only misleading but mischievous at best.
“We reaffirm our position that no public funds have been utilised to pay any bribe or to commit any unlawful acts,” he said.
The Sunday papers quoted Jordaan as saying: “The payment was South Africa’s contribution towards Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football’s (CONCACAF) football development fund”.
Minister Mbalula reiterated that the South African government and the Local Organising Committee have not expended any public funds in the amount of $10 million towards bribery of anyone to secure the rights to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
“Accordingly, we appeal to all our people, media included to desist from speculating on names of individuals who may or may not be implicated in the allegations.
“Equally, we call on all those involved in the bidding and hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup to avoid expressing comments that can only play into the hands of those who seek to perpetuate negative stereotypes against South Africa in particular and Africa in general.
“Whatever the motive of those involved, nothing can detract from the fact that the hosting by South Africa of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the first on the African continent, remains one of the most beautiful spectacles and successful tournaments the world has ever witnessed in FIFA’s history,” he said.
The Minister further said: “We frown upon any insinuations made in the indictment by the United States of America authorities that suggest that the South African government or any of its citizens have been involved in any wrongdoing without substantiating the allegations, let alone naming the alleged co-conspirators.
“We refuse to allow the reputation of our Republic to be tarnished unduly without affording the Republic and its citizens an opportunity to respond to any allegations made. We view this as an attack on our sovereignty,” he said.
Two separate investigations are being carried out by the American and Swiss authorities for alleged rampant and long-running corruption within FIFA, with several top officials arrested and accused by US investigators of taking tens of millions of dollars in bribes.