South Africa ex-president Mbeki donated $10m to CONCACAF: Minister
Cape Town, June 5 (IANS) Former South Africa president Thabo Mbeki donated $10 million to the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) as part of the country’s 2010 World Cup hosting plans, Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula said on Friday.
The amount is at the centre of the FIFA bribery allegations, which was allegedly paid by the South African Football Association (SAFA) to CONCACAF as ‘development funds’ for its developmental programme. South Africa hosted the 2010 World Cup, the first time the quadrennial tournament was held in the continent of Africa.
“The decision is a decision of the South African government. It was implemented by SAFA (SA Football Association) in executing the policy of government in regard to the diaspora,” Mbalula was quoted as saying by sport24.co.za, when asked how and by whom this decision was made.
“President Mbeki spoke to members of the LOC (local organising committee). The president of the country is the CEO of the country.”
But Mbalula insisted that the money paid was not bribery.
“The South African government has not paid any amount to anyone at any point for the rights to host the 2010 World Cup,” he said.
FIFA has also stuck to this explanation, saying the South African government decided in 2007 to make the donation.
But a former minister in Mbeki’s cabinet, Ronnie Kasrils, said he could not recall any discussions about such a government decision.
“I have no recollection of that ever being discussed or such a decision being taken while I was in Cabinet,” Kasrils said on Thursday.
Mbalula said this meant nothing.
“(Government) decisions can be taken through many spheres, not all decisions made by government have ever been discussed by Cabinet.”