The South African Football Association (Safa) national executive committee (NEC) says president Danny Jordaan is “innocent until proven guilty” on a rape charge.
The NEC‚ after a special meeting this week‚ from which Jordaan recused himself‚ to discuss the charge laid by former African National Congress (ANC) MP Jennifer Ferguson‚ said there was no reason for Jordaan to temporarily step down or be suspended while he faces the charge.
Ferguson‚ who first made the allegation five months ago about an incident she says happened in a Port Elizabeth hotel room almost 25 years ago‚ opened the case on Tuesday‚ March 20.
Safa NEC member Poobalan Govindasamy read out a Safa statement prepared from Wednesday’s meeting: “At the outset we want to say that as the national executive committee we are of the firm view that women in our country‚ women throughout the world‚ must be honoured.
“We support‚ very strongly‚ women in their struggle against all forms of abuse and violence.
“Having said this‚ however‚ we note that there has been‚ over a period of six months‚ large-scale media attacks by some media on our president.
“But recently a more equitable and fair process is starting to emerge with the complainant Ms Ferguson having registered a complaint to the police‚ which is the right forum that can deal with this matter in terms of our (SA’s) constitution and the laws of this country.
“We further note the worrying tendency of a trial by the media.
“And this is outside of the established legal structures of the judicial arm of this country‚ which have been created to deal with matters of this nature. And‚ more particularly‚ when the rights of women in general have been violated.
“In this regard allow me to point out‚ on behalf of the NEC‚ that every person‚ without exception is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
“Our president is on record that he denies the allegations made by the complainant‚ Ms Ferguson‚ as announced by the media‚ in October and November of 2017‚ four days before our constitutional congress.
“He further denied all allegations as announced in the media on March 20‚ 2018 – again‚ four days before our scheduled elective congress.
“We note‚ very importantly‚ and of course with concern‚ the complainant’s recent version‚ which is significantly different from her October 2017 narrative.
“In the circumstance the Safa NEC is of the belief that this matter should be heard in the appropriate legal forum‚ on a fair and objective basis.
“That is where the parties have the right to give evidence‚ where the evidence will be tested with an independent judicial officer.”
Asked why the association did not find it necessary to discuss the matter when Ferguson first made the allegation‚ Govindasamy said: “I think we have to just highlight the fact that Safa as a body is one of the few sports federations that has taken the firm decision to empower women in football.
“Now beside that fact is this allegation that comes after 25 or 26 years from a women that did not want to press any charges‚ and decided that she wanted some kind of restorative justice in some other forum.
“But living in Sweden‚ and not in South Africa‚ and making these stories.
“One has to ask – what is the motive behind that?
“Now‚ there is no charge‚ must we now come up to the president and say‚ ‘Do something about it?’ No. Let the law take its course.”
by Marc Strydom- TimesLIVE