What I hoped Danny Jordaan would get from mediation: Bishop Verryn

14 November 2017 - 13:08 By Naledi Shange
Danny Jordaan is said to have swept sexual harassment allegations against a Safa official under the carpet.
Danny Jordaan is said to have swept sexual harassment allegations against a Safa official under the carpet.
Image: Fredlin Adriaan

Bishop Paul Verryn says he had hoped to spare both soccer boss Danny Jordaan and former ANC MP Jennifer Ferguson when he offered to facilitate mediation talks between the two.

Ferguson recently accused Jordaan of raping her more than 20 years ago. Jordaan has denied the allegations.

Jordaan’s lawyers said he feared the mediation process could be perceived as a cover-up to avoid public scrutiny.

But Verryn said he believed a court case would have been even more damaging.

“My [view] about the court process … is that nobody wins‚ particularly in a rape case or a defamation case ... You have either got a winner or a loser‚ whereas in a mediated process‚ you try to see whether that can be different‚” Verryn told TimesLIVE.

“I do think that the mediated process does two things which are positive. First of all‚ they enable you to deal with things that the courts are sometimes not interested in. They probably deal with it at a wider version of what actually happened and hopefully‚ with mediation‚ you can end it with some kind of settlement that leaves both parties reasonably‚ you could say‚ intact.”

Verryn said a mediation process could work‚ even when a rape accused denied the allegations.

“I do think‚ very often‚ the perpetrator of something might not have insight into what the other person regards as wrong and it is hopefully an opportunity to have that conversation‚ so that he doesn’t emerge as this thug‚ that he in actual fact emerges as somebody who is prepared to engage in a way that restores both his dignity and the offended’s dignity‚” Verryn said.

A mediation process doesn’t necessarily eliminate the possibility of court proceedings‚ Verryn explained.

If either of the parties involved in the process is dissatisfied‚ they may still head to the courts.

The disadvantage of the court process is that it happens in the public eye‚ Verryn said.

“The press can write what they like … An allegation can become a reality for some people … There is very often in the process an attempt to vilify the other person‚ whether it is the offender or the victim‚” Verryn said.

“A mediation process can contain stuff quite carefully so that people’s humanity is respected.”