Bugging, spy scandal rocks Safa leadership

2010-07-25 13:00
S’Busiso Mseleku
World Cup kingpin Danny Jordaan and three other soccer bosses have been having their movements tracked over the last few months without their knowledge.

Jordaan, who is the Local Organising Committee’s CEO; former SA Football Association (Safa) president Molefi Oliphant; vice-president Mandla Mazibuko; and CEO Leslie Sedibe discovered this month that monitoring devices had been secretly fitted to their cars.

No device was apparently fitted to the car of Safa vice-president Irvin Khoza, but he could not be reached on his phone to confirm this.

His spokesperson, Dominic Ntsele, said he would try to get comment from Khoza, but nothing had been heard at the time of going to press.

Incumbent Safa president Kirsten Nematandani and vice-president Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana had been asked to bring their cars in on the same day that Mazibuko made the discovery and are said to have refused.

Sedibe has commissioned an investigation to be conducted by an independent security expert.

The tracking debacle comes as Safa is vexed by reports of an all-out war between Khoza’s supporters and those backing Nematandani.

This has led the organisation to initiate a commission of inquiry.

Oliphant revealed to City Press that his phone had been bugged while he was still the Safa president.

“I phoned the person who had bugged my phone and told him to stop what he was ­doing,” Oliphant said yesterday.

The luxury cars are part of the sponsorship from Mercedes-Benz and are driven by members of the Safa presidency and the two CEOs.

Mazibuko, who blew the whistle on the scheme, described the development as a “gross violation of our ­privacy”.

The devices were fitted by an ­outside company at different times. The process is said to have been overseen by staff members from Safa’s fleet management department.

Jordaan’s car is said to have been ­fitted with the device around November, Oliphant’s around March while Mazibuko’s was fitted two weeks ago.

When Mazibuko found out he had it removed the following day.

“I am furious and disappointed,” fumed Oliphant. “When I heard about this from Danny (Jordaan), I called Dudley (Mpulampula, the head of fleet management at Safa).

He told me that the instruction had come from Grony (Hluyo, the chief financial officer).

“Grony told me that this was for insurance purposes and I took his word but added that it was inappropriate that I did not know about this, did not have the company’s details nor an emergency number to call in case of something happening,” said Oliphant.

He also revealed that a Safa staff member from the fleet management department had previously phoned his driver and gloated: “I can see where you guys are.”

Jordaan said: “The moment I discovered that there was such a device in my car, I asked my driver to take it in and have it removed. I took it to the same company that had installed it and they removed it.

“At the moment I can’t comment further as I am waiting for a report that will inform us what exactly the device was for.”

Mazibuko said: “While I am not an alarmist, I am disappointed that such an act of gross violation of our privacy was committed.”

Mazibuko said he would wait until a report was presented as Sedibe had been asked to investigate the matter and “if there were malicious intentions, appropriate action will be taken”.