South African Football Association (Safa) president Danny Jordaan and his organisation are drowning Democratic Alliance (DA) member of parliament Tsepo Mhlongo in a river of legal woes for defamation.
Sunday World can reveal that Jordaan and Safa are collectively demanding R3.5 million from Mhlongo after he called for him to be suspended and investigated for running the organisation like his fiefdom, among others.
He also accused the football body of maladministration.
Jordaan and Safa have filed papers in the Johannesburg High Court in which they are demanding the millions from Mhlongo, who is the DA’s shadow minister of sports, arts and culture.
In the papers, which are in our possession, Safa and Jordaan’s lawyers, Mphahlele attorneys, said Mhlongo issued a defamatory statement in April, which was published by several media houses. Mhlongo said that Jordaan had failed to deal with corruption.
They said the statement, which was attached to the papers, reads in parts: “The DA is calling for an investigation into the South African Football Association [Safa] and for the suspension of the organisa- tion’s president, Danny Jordaan. What we are saying is that we want Danny to be investigated and he must know that there is no one who is above the law.”
Mhlongo further said Jordaan had failed to deal with corruption in the association.
He also said the DA was demanding an investigation into the Safa election, which cost nearly R6 million.
He also wanted a probe into the removal Ria Ledwaba as Jordaan’s vice-president.
In a separate statement, Mhlongo also said Jordaan was not fit to lead Safa in this era and must recuse himself from his leadership role at the organisation “to find himself”.
This he said after the departure of the organisation’s then chief executive officer Gay Mokoena.
The lawyers said Mhlongo’s statements were defamatory to the two as they were understood to mean that they were dishonest and untrustworthy.
They said they were also understood it to mean that they were of disreputable character, corrupt, lack integrity and were involved in maladministration.
“[The statements] have a tendency and or were calculated to undermine the status, good name and or reputation of the plaintiffs and were made by the defendant with the intention of defaming the plaintiffs and injuring their good name and reputation,” read the papers.
They further said after his defamatory statement, they sent Mhlongo a letter demanding an apology and a retraction from him, but he refused to do so.
They said they had no option but to go to court and were now demanding a total of R3.5 million from him, with Jordaan demanding R1 million and Safa R2.5 million for reputational damage.
Mhlongo said he would not apologise and he said he would meet Jordaan and SAFA in court.