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Court rejects Ria Ledwaba's application to stop Safa election

15 June 2022 - 12:05 By Sithembiso Dindi and Marc Strydom
Safa vice-president Ria Ledwaba.
Safa vice-president Ria Ledwaba.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

The judge in Ria Ledwaba’s application in the Pretoria high court to interdict the SA Football Association’s (Safa) elective congress — which failed on Wednesday — said the Safa vice-president's “unacceptable short notice” serving the matter was crucial to the decision.

Ledwaba, who will stand for the Safa presidency in the June 25 election against incumbent Danny Jordaan, applied for the interdict alleging various constitutional and procedural irregularities.

Judge Brenda Neukircher ruled that the application be struck off the roll for lack of urgency. She further ruled that Ledwaba pay the costs.

In her application, Ledwaba alleged that Safa unlawfully postponed its ordinary congress scheduled for December last year to March 26 this year.

Among other allegations were that the elective congress has been supervised by a governance committee that was improperly appointed in violation of the Safa statutes and the elections would not be free and fair.

Neukircher rejected the urgency of the application, ruling Ledwaba had enough time to put the matter in review but only did so on June 6.

“In this case, the applicant’s complaints go back to October 2021. The complaints are also that the ordinary congress of Safa was unlawfully postponed from December 10 2021 to March 26 2022 and that this March congress was improperly convened,” Neukircher said.

“It’s instructive to know that she received the notification of the postponement of the December 10 2021 congress and yet she did nothing.

“The challenge of Safa to amend its statutes and the appointment of members as the governance committee all goes back to March 26 2022 and what aggravates the situation is that she was present at the congress.

“The complaint [regarding the postponement of] the congress in December 2021 could have been challenged by her months ago and any review of the decisions taken [in the congress of] March 26 2022.

“The applicant has had ample time to bring in a review application regarding the decisions taken either in December 2021 or March 2022 which she alleges have a direct impact on the meeting of June 25 2022.”

Neukircher said Ledwaba could still take the outcome of the June 25 elective congress on review depending on the facts and the legal basis set out in any of such applications.

“And certainly a successful review will reset that clock. This means the applicant can obtain substantial redress in due course.

“I therefore can’t see how any of her rights will be violated by such a process.

“Safa argues that the matter be struck off the roll with punitive costs order. Given all the above facts, I agree.

“The applicant has failed to act with alacrity. She has allowed months to pass before acting on the grievances she has had since December 2021 and her unacceptable short notice and failure to serve the proper application to the respondents and fact that she obtained substantial redress in due course are all factors warranting a punitive costs order.

“Therefore, I make the following orders. The application is struck off the roll for a lack of urgency. The applicant is ordered to pay the attorney and client costs.”

Safa Tshwane president Solly Mohlabeng is the third candidate contesting the Safa presidential election.

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