Mbalula stood firm on the government’s stance that the $10-million African Diaspora payment to Concacaf from the FIFA Legacy Fund was an above-board payment via FIFA accounts to the Caribbean federation.
That Warner allegedly misappropriated the funds, Mbalula said, is “frowned upon” by the South African government.
Mbalula also stressed that FIFA’s Restitution Request did not implicate the South African government, but rather the defendants in the U.S. indictment into worldwide football corruption led by the FBI.
The sports minister said South Africa expects FIFA to retract their statement implying the African Diaspora payment was a bribe, furnish the government with the report, and respect the nation’s sovereignty of state.
“The South African government maintains its position that the African Diaspora Legacy Programme was a legitimate programme of the South African government,” he said.
“We will not apologise for our progressive stance to the African diaspora for including the diaspora in the pride and honour of hosting the FIFA World Cup. To infer or insinuate anything else including to diminish such an important part of the continent’s history as an elaborate ruse to issue a bribe is despicable.
“The South African government considers it an insult to reduce one of its hallmark programmes that recognises the struggle and achievements of African people all over the world to a mere caricature and incubator for bribery.”
Mbalula deflected questions about SAFA president Danny Jordaan’s involvement in the payment and his juggling of mayoral and football roles, specifically his absence at FIFA meetings.
“There is no allegation against Danny Jordaan that I’m aware of and I do not make his travel arrangements … he continues his mandate as SAFA president,” said Mbalula.
“We are ready to meet with FIFA to clarify all issues … we’ve got nothing to hide,” he concluded.