Mbalula must ‘Shut his mouth’ – Cope

Minister Fikile Mbalula. Picture: Michel Bega

Sports minister Fikile Mbalula needed to “shut his mouth”, and save the country from further embarrassment following the Fifa World Cup bribery allegations, Congress of the People (Cope) have said.

“The Minister reminds us of Shakespeare’s ‘the lady doth protest too much’. He too, indeed, is protesting too much much and that gives us an inkling that he has something to hide,” said Cope spokesperson Dennis Bloem.

“The more he talks and denies the involvement of South-Africa in the allegations of bribery and corruption, the more information is coming to the fore. He was not the Minister of Sports during the World Cup bid. He is therefore acting on hearsay information. He should have asked people who were directly involved in the bid to join him at the front table to answer the questions posed by journalists.”

This after media reports yesterday that the highest levels of South African government approved a $10 million dollar payment that US investigators suspect was a bribe to get the 2010 World Cup.

Then president Thabo Mbeki and foreign minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma approved the payment which the authorities again insisted yesterday was for a legitimate development project to support football among the “African diaspora” in the Caribbean.

The payment in 2008 was made through Fifa and went to an account controlled by Jack Warner, a disgraced former Fifa vice president from the Caribbean wanted by US authorities for accepting bribes.

At the time of the South African payment he was head of the Concacaf confederation for North and Central America and the Caribbean.

“President Mbeki spoke with the leadership of the 2010 World Cup local organising committee,” Mbalula told Beeld when asked who decided to pay the $10 million.

“(It was) the government’s idea.”

The Mail and Guardian published a 2007 letter from World Cup bid chief Danny Jordaan to Fifa about South Africa’s donation to the “Diaspora legacy support programme”.

Jordaan wrote that foreign minister Dlamini-Zuma, now chairman of the African Union Commission, had advised the money should be paid from the government to the organising committee.

Fifa would then deduct the sum from the organising committee’s budget and pay it straight to the “diaspora programme”, Jordaan added.

Meanwhile trade union federation Cosatu has called on everyone who served in the Local Organising Committee (LOC) to come forward and provide information on the allegations.

“Cosatu call for full disclosure whatsoever if there was any member of the LOC aware of such intransigent transactions to corroborate corruption claims made by one of the former member, Mr Jack Warner,” it said in a statement.

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