Match fixing probe report must be made-Mbalula!

Briefing Parliament’s sport portfolio committee, Mbalula said the ball was in Fifa’s court with regard to Bafana Bafana’s international friendly matches.

“The process is in the hands of Fifa to conclude and it’s only on the basis of that conclusion we’ll make a determination,” Mbalula told the committee.

He defended a decision by President Jacob Zuma not to appoint a judicial commission of inquiry into the scandal, saying Fifa would have viewed this as government interference.

A judicial commission of inquiry would have been more effective to probe the match-fixing allegations, but South Africa had no choice but to back down against threats that Fifa could suspend the SA Football Association (Safa) if government intervened.

“I think there were fears with regard to the terms of reference that they could be broader than just match-fixing and look into other things, probably in Safa, and that is why the process was… diplomatically aborted despite the fact that there was total agreement to investigate [through a judicial inquiry],” Mbalula said.

Mbalula criticised both Fifa and Safa former executives, insisting they had colluded to prevent the judicial inquiry.

“I think there was collusion in between, even though it’s like a ghost. It’s like a cabal. A cabal is something you cannot touch but you can feel it in the room,” he said.

“People have connived. They have met whether during the night or during the day, but they have met. But you can’t pin it on them that on this day you met, but you know it.”

The committee resolved to write to Fifa to request a briefing on their probe.

In March this year, Zuma announced the judicial inquiry would not go ahead. This followed a year of tensions between Mbalula, Safa, and Fifa.

The match-fixing allegations, which first surfaced in 2011, led to the suspension of several Safa officials, including that of former Safa president Kirsten Nematandani.

The suspensions were later lifted.

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