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Ledwaba 'to go to court' after development in Safa disciplinary case

20 June 2022 - 17:14 By Marc Strydom
SA Football Association vice-president Ria Ledwaba.
SA Football Association vice-president Ria Ledwaba.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

The independent chairperson in a disciplinary matter Ria Ledwaba is facing at the SA Football Association (Safa) has decided not to recuse himself as the Safa vice-president’s lawyers have been pressing for.

Advocate Terry Motau SC has rejected Ledwaba’s application that he recuse himself.

Ledwaba’s attorney Stan Fanaroff said they would take Motau’s decision on review at the high court.

Sources close to Ledwaba told TimesLIVE the charges relate to a letter she sent to sports minister Nathi Mthethwa in 2020 asking him to intervene in Safa after a damning report was sent by fellow vice-president Gay Mokoena alleging abuse of office by president Danny Jordaan. A second charge relates to her having met Safa staff member Hendrick Mphahlele without approval.

Ledwaba and Mokoena were removed as vice-presidents but Ledwaba was reinstated.

She is contesting the Safa presidency against Jordaan in Saturday’s elective congress. She failed to have the elections stopped in court last week.

Motau wrote: “Ms Ledwaba has brought an application for my recusal as an independent chairperson of these disciplinary proceedings on the basis that she has a ‘reasonable apprehension of bias’ on my part.

“Ms Ledwaba had previously raised a point in limine where she contested the validity of the process referring the charges for determination by me as an independent chairperson, as opposed to a disciplinary hearing.

“I gave my ruling on that matter [on April 11] in which I outlined my reasons for dismissing Ms Ledwaba’s point with costs.

“Her affidavit in support of the recusal application states, among other things, that ‘thorough consideration ... resulted in me entertaining a reasonable apprehension of bias on his part so much so that I do not believe he will bring an impartial mind to bear on the proceedings’.

“Ms Ledwaba further avers that I have a long-standing relationship with Safa as I have served on the arbitration panel of Safa as far back as 2014 and having been recommended to serve on the arbitration panel by the Safa NEC.

“She also avers that my ‘blatant refusal to direct the discovery of the audio clip has [led her] to the inevitable conclusion that [I am] not an impartial adjudicator in these proceedings’.

“Safa contends that Ms Ledwaba’s objection to my appointment is misplaced in that, among other things, she was party to ... a similar process in respect of disciplinary proceedings against Chief [Mwelo] Nonkonyana.

“Safa also contends that the NEC appointed me to form a ‘subcommittee’ in terms of article 34.1.6 of the Safa statutes to preside over allegations of misconduct.”

In his conclusion Motau wrote: “Ms Ledwaba’s reasonable apprehension of bias and application for recusal is based primarily on incorrect facts and is incongruent with legal principles.

“A proper analysis of the facts indicates that the high watermark of Ms Ledwaba’s case is that she may subjectively have formed a suspicion of bias, but that such does not constitute a reasonable apprehension, particularly when assessed against the correct facts.

“For these reasons the application for recusal is declined and Ms Ledwaba is ordered to pay the costs of this application.”

Fanaroff said Ledwaba’s legal team would take Motau’s decision on review at the high court.

“I haven’t spoken to my client yet, but I can assure you this wasn’t unexpected and it [going to court] will be the next step.

“We’ve got to launch the application, we’ve got to prepare an affidavit based on Motau’s findings, which as far as we’re concerned is incorrect, but that’s for the court to decide in due course.

“But we believe it’s not a well-founded judgment.”

Safa Tshwane president Solly Mohlabeng is the third candidate in Saturday's presidential election. 


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