19 September 2020
JOHANNESBURG – A crowd of #NotInMyName protesters this weekend led a protest at the headquarters of the South African Football Association in Johannesburg, demanding the reinstatement of sacked SAFA vice-president Ria Ledwaba.
#NotInMyName president Siyabulela Jentile told the crowd in black t-shirts that masculinity had a role in the way SAFA president elbowed Ledwaba from the national administrative body that controls the sport of football in South Africa.
“This is a matter of principle. They want her out of SAFA because she is female, secondly she is the longest serving female football administrator in the country, and now she is likely to be the president of SAFA. We want to understand what is happening because as soon as we arrived, they have closed the gates,” said Jentile.
“Our message is clear … Ria Ledwaba must be reinstated with immediate effect, and she must not apologise to anyone. Her only sin was to write to Minister Nathi Mthethwa, to say he must intervene in what is happening at SAFA. So at this institution, you are not supposed to speak against Danny Jordaan. If you do that, you are out.”
Jentile said Jordaan has “captured” SAFA and now runs it arbitrarily.
“Most of the NEC members sitting in there with him know the truth, but this is politics of the stomachs. The man has captured this institution, and now it seems like it is his own spaza shop. We are calling on other civil society organizations to come up so that we make sure that the man leaves this organization,” he said.
Moments later, the crowd of protesters, led by #NotInMyName secretary general Themba Masango marched into the SAFA premises, towards the main entrance, singing and waving placards.
SAFA general manager for corporate services Mlungisi Ncame emerged from the SAFA building to interact with the disgruntled protesters.
“We are here, not as hooligans, but as peace-loving South Africans. We respect everyone who is here including your security, they are our brothers and fathers. We are here to raise a message that Mama Ria Ledwaba needs to be reinstated because the charges that were brought against her are nonsensical and not correct,” said Masango.
“We want people to know that SAFA is not Danny Jordaan’s tuckshop. He can not do as he pleases. We were hearing in the papers that there were rape allegations against him. We want to know, what happened? We are raising these questions genuinely.”
Ncame said the #NotInMyName grievances would be conveyed to management.
Masango warned that if SAFA does not give feedback, the civil righst movement would bring more protests to the football body’s doorstep.