Ria Ledwaba was allegedly prohibited to attend the press conference she called for her acceptance as a presidential candidate for the South African Football Association (SAFA) on Tuesday morning.
Ledwaba and her team planned, hosted and invited members of the media and civil society to attend the event at the Nelson Mandela Foundation building in Houghton and after an hour and a half of various speakers, including Doctor Khumalo and Portia Modise, vouching for the change her potential leadership could evoke on South African football, her legal representative confirmed she was unable to attend the event herself.
It has been alleged that should Ledwaba have shown face and physically announced her acceptance to run for SAFA presidency, she would have been expelled from the race with immediate effect.
Ledwaba, former vice-president Nomsa Mahlangu, Ngoako Mohlabeng of Safa Tshwane are the three candidates contesting current president Danny Jordaan in the upcoming elections.
“Since Friday afternoon the 6th [of May] she received a circular, the effect of which was to prohibit her from holding any press conference,” Ledwaba’s attorney, Leruma Thobejane confirmed at the event.
“I engaged her, she consulted with me, we went through the circular and as a lawyer, I pick my fights, I don’t advise my client if I believe I don’t believe I’m able to win the case.
“When the waters are muddy, it doesn’t allow people to drink. My advice was to seek further clarity on the letter issued by SAFA on Friday. Indeed we wrote a letter, we got a response late yesterday afternoon.
“I sat in consultation with Maria the whole night and she was still insistent on addressing the media and as an attorney, I had to take a decision that would not prejudice her candidacy.
“I advised her to wait until tomorrow, let me further research and I had to abandon court today to further consult her. But I didn’t want her to risk expulsion or suspension – I did not want to do that knowing this was a pre-arranged event, knowing guests were invited and media. I had to man up and come and address you all on her behalf.
“Rather than risking her candidacy for the presidency, let me [rather] one and disappoint you with this bad news. I stand here after denying her to address you on legal principle, not based on her wishes, so I tender my sincere apology to those who attended. But having listened to Portia today – I don’t think I need to apologise…”
Former SAFA CEO Dennis Mumble was also in attendance to address the press conference, where Ledwaba wanted to express her views on the need for change within the hierarchy of South African football.
“𝗪𝗲 𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗱 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗲 𝗶𝗻 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗳𝗼𝗼𝘁𝗯𝗮𝗹𝗹!” – Doctor Khumalo.
— iDiski Times (@iDiskiTimes) May 10, 2022