Tokyo Sexwale, a member of the organizing committee for South Africa’s soccer World Cup in 2010, questioned whether a $10 million payment to the Caribbean Football Union was used properly.
“The question is did the money go to the right place?” Sexwale, a member of FIFA’s anti-racism and anti-discrimination task force and its media committee, said by phone Wednesday from Moscow. “Who did it go to?”
South African Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said Wednesday that the payment was a means to fund soccer development in Caribbean nations and wasn’t a bribe. U.S. authorities said last week in an indictment that Jack Warner, the longtime head of the Caribbean, Central and North American soccer confederation, took a $10 million payoff from South Africa to vote for its bid to host the 2010 World Cup.
The U.S. indictment also says two members of South Africa’s bid committee, which Sexwale was a member of, were co-conspirators in the corruption, racketeering and money-laundering case. One of them allegedly flew to Paris to hand over a briefcase filled with $10,000 bundles, which was destined for Warner.
Because South Africa was unable to arrange the payment, it asked soccer’s governing body to withhold $10 million from its World Cup allocation and transfer the money to accounts controlled by Warner, according the U.S. indictment.
Sexwale agreed with the rationale for the payment and said Nelson Mandela, the country’s first black president, believed that South Africa was representing the continent in holding the World Cup.
“It was well-known at the time that this is not just a South African World Cup,” said Sexwale, a former government minister and leading figure in the ruling African National Congress. “Everybody, even Mandela, said it’s an African World Cup and there was the addition of Africans who are elsewhere. It was a noble thing, there’s nothing wrong with that.”
Molefi Oliphant, the former president of the South African Football Association, wrote to FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke in 2008 requesting Warner should be the fiduciary of the $10 million.
Oliphant said by phone he wasn’t in contact with Warner and other FIFA executives during the bidding process. That was the responsibility of a bid company led by Danny Jordaan and other officials including Irvin Khosa. Asked if Jordaan had requested Oliphant send the letter to Valcke, Oliphant said “Follow the developments.”
Jordaan declined to comment on why Warner should be the fiduciary. Khosa didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.
Warner said in a video he had an “avalanche” of secrets, including details on FIFA’s outgoing president Sepp Blatter and Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar. Warner had been a cabinet minister in Persad-Bissessar’s government.
“I will no longer keep secrets for them,” Warner said, revealing he had compiled a cache of compromising documents.
“I reasonably and surely fear for my life,”he said, adding “not even death will stop the avalanche that is coming.”
Sexwale said he had not yet seen the full indictment because he was traveling and that U.S. investigators had not contacted him.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s June 2 resignation is “good for the game” and will allow for soccer to improve its governance, Sexwale said. He has previously worked closely with Blatter, Warner and other indicted officials.
“It’s a shock,” Sexwale said. “These are friends, these are colleagues, these are people we’ve enjoyed World Cup games with, dinners.”