Minister Fikile Mbalula responds to Mail & Guardian article
3 July 2015
The Minister of Sport and Recreation South Africa, Mr Fikile Mbalula has noted a Mail & Guardian article that parades a letter written to former LOC members as attempt to “gag” them from speaking about the 2010 FIFA World Cup bribe allegations by the U.S Justice Department levelled against South Africa (see here).
The M&G report is nothing but a reflection of gutter journalism at best. Their investigative team “AmaBhungane” have proven themselves to be best at using Google to copy, paste and paraphrase old news purporting them as “new developments”. The M&G tried to distort an honest communication by the Minister to former LOC Members.
Minister Mbalula issued statements on the 28th and 30th of May 2015 in which he discouraged speculation on the matter and called upon South Africans to be patient as government sought to address this matter and gather all the relevant details.
Addressing the media on the 28th of May Minister Mbalula Minister Mbalula said: “This is a matter of national importance, we call upon all who were involved in the process of bidding and execution of the 2010 FIFA World Cup to desist from making statements and to afford the National Government of the Republic of South Africa through the Ministry and Department of Sport and Recreation to handle this matter through the diplomatic channels. We also call upon those wishing to provide any information to provide such through the government of the Republic of South Africa”
It was against this backdrop that the letter with the same cautions Minister shared with South Africans in these media addresses was sent to former LOC members who were not present at a meeting he held. Information provided by former LOC members was widely shared by the Minister with the media; at no time did government attempt to hide any information or gag any individual. Minister Mbalula was well within his rights to communicate with former LOC members about the matter concerning the allegations against South Africa. The letter was nothing more than advising the then LOC members not to speak on behalf of government since they no longer represent any formal government structure.
Had the M&G googling “investigators” bothered themselves with checking statements made by the Minister they would have seen that the language used in the letter is the same used in our media statements that were widely shared. Such could saved them from embarrassment. We do note however that M&G has a long standing pursuance of trying to discredit anything said by the government using fabricated information given credence by their googling “investigators”.
Minister Mbalula reiterates the call he made at the previous media Addresses that the media should: “desist from sensational reporting. 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. As a government and people of South Africa we are enjoined to combat such propaganda against our country.”
M&G is twisting the truth to fit the headlines using fabricated information in a devious attempt to sustain a story that our government is corrupt even when there is clearly no evidence of such corruption.
Minister Mbalula was never “summoned” to parliament as M&G sensationally portrays. Minister continues to fulfil his parliamentary obligations and will not gallop to desperate attempts to gather relevance and hog media headlines by the Democratic Alliance (DA). The DA does not know the difference between national interest and petty political interests. The only interest they know is keeping this story relevant for political mileage. M&G googling investigators should know better; their continued use of DA as credible source of what is happening in Parliament discredits them.
At the media addresses we’ve had, we indicated that we stand by our initial statements that the government of the Republic of South Africa has not bribed anyone to secure the rights of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. We also indicated that we frown upon the allegations that suggest that South Africa has paid a bribe. We also clarified that payment made for approved projects can never be construed as bribery and that any insinuations to the contrary will be met with our rebuke.
In his address, Minister Mbalula said: “I also wish to indicate that as the current Minister I had noted the payment of the $10 million in the indictment and noted that this money was not paid either through government coffers or those of the LOC. I had conferred with the leadership of football in our country on this matter and also former members of the LOC. I had also extensively consulted with the leadership of government of the day to establish the facts surrounding this payment and I can today unequivocally state for all to know that this payment was not a bribe.”
We wish to reiterate that the only two structures with authority to speak on this matter is the South African government through the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa and the South African Football Association. Minister reiterates that the overzealous "newly found" former LOC members who played no significant role to the LOC should remain on their lanes which no longer represents any government structure. We will still advice the former LOC members to shut up and let government do its job. There is nothing untoward in asking people to observe protocol.
Statement issued by Esethu Hasane, Sport and Recreation South Africa, July 3 2015