The Gert Sibande Football Association held a successful electoral congress on Saturday 28 May 2022 at eMbalenhle Community Recreational Center, Secunda. The majority of leaders were re-elected to their previos positions without contestations. The President Mr Litheko Marago was elected unopposed together with 2nd Deputy President Mr Nhlanhla Mkhonza.
Unlike previous electoral congresses there was no controversy this year as the delegates showed unity and cooperation. In previous years one could cut the tension with a blunt knife, it would be very visible. The 2016 congress which elected the current administration was marred with court cases and allegations of intimidation. The congress was almost postponed after former chairperson Mr Fanyana Sibanyoni filed a court order to stop the congress. The congress was saved when President Litheko Marago and his executive quickly raised funds to challenge the matter at the Evander High Court. The court ruled in favour of the Gert Sibande FA then to continue with the congress which elected the leadership in 2016.
We are in the year 2022, the only contest came in two positions i.e. 1st Deputy President and that of 3rd Deputy President. The positions were opened as a result of Mr Mahlangu deciding to call it quits as the 1st Deputy President. The position of 3rd Deputy President was vacant after the untimely passing of Miss Khanyi Ndlangamandla in 2018.
My first issue with him was finding out that he was not educated but was quick to comment on SAFA leadership issues.
Three people were nominated for the position of 1st Deputy President position. Mr Mtune Tsotesti from Lekwa LFA declined nomination on realization that a more senior member had also availed himself. “Colleagues I would have loved to serve but seeing that Mr Honey Maseko who is my senior in football has been nominated, my LFA and I decided that I should not contest for this position,” he said before declining. The process was left with two nominated members in Mr Bafana Sibeko of Govern Mbeki LFA and Mr Honey Maseko of Msukaligwa LFA. Mr Maseko won the election by 24 votes to 4 to take up the vacant seat of 1st Deputy President.
The position reserved for women leaders of the organisation was also not contested. Miss Delisiwe Ngcobo from Pixley ka Isaka Seme LFA was elected unopposed to serve as the 3rd Deputy President of SAFA Gert Sibande Football Association. After the election of the four office bearers the President Mr Maragu took to the podium and thanked delegates for having a peaceful process of elections. He asked members of SAFA to keep working hard and not be discouraged by people looking to “grab” positions of leadership within SAFA. “Thank you for leading your football associations and keeping football active in your communities. A lot of you attend meetings using school classes due to limited resources but your passion and love for the game keep you going. Let us not be told how and whom to vote for especially by former players who have not spent time attending to grassroots activities,” he said.
Mr Marago asked National Executive Committee member Mr Vincent Ramphagu who was deployed to monitor proceedings to say a few words. Mr Ramphagu started off by thanking members of the Region for having a peaceful congress. He applauded the Region and asked them to stay united and not allow outsiders to influence the region.
He took a jab at former Bafana Bafana international Doctor Khumalo whom he said was disappointed at for his outburst about the SAFA Presidential elections.
“I used to love Doctor Khumalo as a player doing his tricks and winning trophies for the national team but now am disappointed. My first issue with him was finding out that he was not educated but was quick to comment on SAFA leadership issues. The man has not tried to serve at any SAFA structure but wants to lead this organisation at the expense of administrators like yourselves,” he said.
The congress adjourned after the speech from NEC deployed without any mention of the proposed R500 000 grant/payment to the regions as heard through mainstream media. One could sense thought that this congress or region was very much aligned to incumbent President Danny Jordan.
The full leadership is as follows: Mr Litheko Marago (President), Mr Honey Maseko (1st Dep President), Mr Nhlanhla Mkhonza (2nd Dep President) and Miss Deliswe Ngcobo (3rd Dep President). The additional members are: Mr Lubisi (Dipaleseng LFA), Mr S Mazibuko (Pixley ka Isaka Seme LFA), Mr M Nkosi (Mkhondo LFA), Mr B Sibeko (Govern Mbeki LFA), Mr MT Makhanya (Chief Albert Luthuli LFA) and Mr M Tsotetsi (Lekwa LFA). The executive committee will be assisted by a permanent Regional Executive Officer (REO) Miss Nomvula Mathebula to run admininistrative duties for the football association.