New Mayor Jordaan refuses to comment on FIFA corruption scandal

MAY 28, 2015

Newly sworn-in Executive Mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay, Danny Jordaan, has refused to comment on allegations of corruption relating to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, or how the unfolding scandal would impact on his position as Mayor.

While addressing the media after the Special Council meeting that swore him in at Nangoza Jebe Hall earlier on Thursday, Jordaan evaded questions regarding the recent allegations of corruption in the awarding of the 2010 FIFA World Cup to South Africa by the US Justice Department.

A lengthy and detailed FBI investigation alleges that a senior South African bid official travelled to Paris with stacks of US$100 bills to buy the vote of Jack Warner, then the influential boss of Caribbean football whose block of votes were crucial to winning the 2010 World Cup.

A section titled “The Criminal Schemes” set out how South Africa bought three crucial votes with a $10-million bribe. The country was up against Morocco for the right to host the 2010 World Cup. The end vote was 14 to 10 in favour of South Africa.

The second instance alleges that in the months before the May 2004 vote, Warner and “co-conspirator #1” flew to Morocco, where Warner allegedly accepted a $1-million offer to vote for that country. 

The indictment alleges that after the Moroccan bribe offer, Blazer learnt of a change of plan. “High-ranking officials of Fifa, the South African government, and the South African bid committee, including co-conspirator #16, were prepared to arrange for the government of South Africa to pay $10-million to the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) to ‘support the African diaspora’.”

The CFU is where Warner held sway. Blazer “understood the offer to be in exchange for the agreement” that he, Warner and an unnamed senior South American football official on the Fifa executive would vote for South Africa. Although the payment was to be to the CFU in name, Warner and his associates were the intended recipients. According to the indictment, “Warner indicated that he had accepted the offer and told [Blazer] that he would give a $1-million portion of the $10-million payment to [Blazer].” 

All three allegedly voted for South Africa. Afterwards, Blazer “periodically asked Warner” about the payment. Blazer then learnt that “the South Africans were unable to arrange for the payment to be made directly from government funds”.

When asked for comment, Jordaan pointed to the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality backdrop behind him.

“You see here at the back, when you see the appropriate banner, you can ask the question,” said Jordaan.

Further pressed, Jordaan said, “Listen, I’m saying this is not the forum. The minister of sport will be issuing a press statement, so once the statement has been issued you will have a better understanding of what you are talking about.”

Jordaan is believed to going back Zurich on Thursday, where he will be attending a FIFA conference as the head of the South African Football Association (SAFA).

Mbalula denies bribery allegations

Meanwhile, speaking at the conclusion of a transformation in sport event in Johannesburg, Sports Minister, Fikile Mbalula, told reporters that government was not involved in alleged bribes to sway votes in the hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. 

“No such amount [$10-million] was paid by the department or government to any individual,” he said.

Mbalula said that nobody had contacted the South African government prior to the arrests.

“It does constitute an element of total disregard of you to speak about a country without relating with it with regards to the information you may have.

“We run a transparent nation.”

Speaking at a post-Cabinet briefing on Thursday, Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe, said the local organising committee was not too worried about the bribery allegations. A member of the committee, he said, “As far as we are concerned, there has never been any suggestion that anything untoward happened in South Africa.” 

The country had received a clean audit from accounting firm Ernst & Young. Any profit had been handed over to the South African Football Association, he said.

---additional reporting News24wire and Mail&Guardian.