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Ria Ledwaba goes to court to stop Safa elections

07 June 2022 - 18:12 By Marc Strydom
Safa vice-president Ria Ledwaba.
Safa vice-president Ria Ledwaba.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

SA Football Association vice-president Ria Ledwaba and her supporters have served court papers seeking to stop the Safa election on June 25.

Sourcesin Ledwaba’s camp said this was because they allege several constitutional irregularities surrounding the elections. They say some constitutional changes made at a March 26 ordinary congress were aimed at entrenching incumbent Danny Jordaan as president.

Ledwaba, Jordaan and Safa Tshwane president Solly Mohlabeng were announced by Safa as cleared by the governance committee to stand for the Safa presidency in the elective congress.

Ledwaba has a press conference scheduled for Wednesday morning at FNB Stadium. 

Safa CEO Tebogo Motlanthe on Tuesday sent a letter, of which TimesLIVE has a copy, to the body’s national executive committee (NEC) informing them of the court papers being served.

“Please be informed that the vice-president of Safa, Ms Ria Ledwaba, has approached the court on an urgent basis to stop the Safa elections scheduled for June 25,” Motlanthe wrote. “The matter is between Ms Ledwaba, Safa, all members of the governance committee and the chairperson of the ethics committee, justice Sisi Khampepe. This matter is brought on behalf of Ledwaba and Safa Vhembe.

“Safa has already filed its intention to oppose this matter.

“Please further note that another application to the Western Cape high court has been filed for the same intention so that the election must be postponed.”

Motlanthe wrote that Fifa and Safa statutes “prohibit taking football matters to ordinary courts. The final arbiter for sport disputes is the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)”.

Motlanthe referred to article 13.1.6 of the Safa Statutes, which he said says “any dispute requiring adjudication involving itself or one of its members ... and decisions of the member, Safa, Caf and Fifa shall come solely under the jurisdiction of the appropriate dispute resolution tribunal of the member, Safa, Caf or Fifa and that any recourse to ordinary courts is prohibited subject to article 59.5”.

The CEO referred to “article 59 in the Fifa statute”, that: “The association shall insert a clause in their statutes or regulations stipulating that it is prohibited to take disputes in the association or disputes affecting leagues, clubs, members of clubs, players, officials and other association officials to ordinary courts of law unless the Fifa regulations or binding legal provisions specifically for or stipulate recourse to ordinary courts of law ...

“ ... Instead of recourse to ordinary courts of law provision shall be made for arbitration.” 

Motlanthe wrote: “Further note that this matter was also referred to Sascoc [the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee], Caf [the Confederation of Africa Football] and Fifa.

“We wish to confirm that every nominated candidate as submitted to the CEO was forwarded to the governance committee for integrity check and finalisation. The final list has been received and was forwarded to all members.

“Safa is satisfied that it has met the provisions of the Safa statutes and the governance requirements and will proceed with the arrangements of the elective congress on June 25.”

Ledwaba was reached on her cellphone but said she could not comment on the matter yet. She said she would address the court issue in her press conference on Wednesday morning.