Ria Ledwaba and SAFA headed for another legal showdown following her ban from football

Ria Ledwaba and SAFA headed for another legal showdown following her ban from football

Former South African Football Association (SAFA) Vice-President Ria Ledwaba and the local football mother body are headed for another legal showdown following her ban from football.

This comes after a letter from Ledwaba’s lawyers indicating that she is challenging SAFA’s decision to ban her from all footballing activities.

In a letter dated 6 March 2024 from the office of the SAFA CEO Lydia Monyepao, the football mother body declared Ledwaba a ‘persona non-grata’ within the organization. The letter cited Ledwaba’s decision to take SAFA to court and seek arbitration challenging the outcome of the presidential elections which were held in June 2022 as grounds for this action.

The former Ria Stars club owner had raised irregularities in the amendment of the constitution leading to the SAFA Elective Congress, where she was challenging SAFA President Danny Jordaan.

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But she was unsuccessful in her court bid at the South Gauteng High Court Division, an outcome SABC Sport has since learnt that she is appealing.

“You refused to accept the outcome of the elections and by your conduct including your previous litigation, which has come to nothing, you have brought SAFA into disrepute. Moreover, your conduct is not in alignment with the values and standards of our association.

“After careful consideration and thorough review of recent events, the SAFA National Executive Committee has decided that you are to be declared 'persona non grata' within our organization. In other words, you are disqualified from all and every football and football-related activity under the jurisdiction of SAFA,”  read the letter.

SAFA also listed Ledwaba as having been part of an unsuccessful court application to interdict the organization’s congress from taking place on 26 June 2022.

“Furthermore, in your attempts to derail the business of SAFA, according to Judge Holland-Muter, you associated yourself with an application brought in the Cape Town High Court on 1 June 2022 to interdict the SAFA national congress for 26 June 2022 from taking place. The application was dismissed resulting in a punitive costs order against you,” the letter continued.

But Ledwaba is not throwing in the towel yet and through her attorney and former SAFA NEC member Vernon Seymour wrote to SAFA on 12 March, challenging the decision to ban her by the NEC.

“You are no doubt aware that our client has filed an application for leave to appeal and you have already given notice to oppose our client’s (Ledwaba) application. We, therefore, submit that your client’s NEC decision was premature along with the issue of your aforesaid letter,” read the letter from Lionel Cay Attorneys directed to SAFA.

The letter further reads... “There is nothing in your statutes which empowers your NEC to declare someone ‘a persona non-grata’, it appears that this decision was taken with malicious intent and a clear objective to defame our client. Our client is offended by your NEC decision and will consider her options."

These developments come just a few days before the much anticipated SAFA NEC meeting this coming weekend, with another presidential candidate and SAFA Tshwane President Solly Mohlabeng receiving a similar letter and awaiting a disciplinary committee hearing.

Ledwaba is threatening to take SAFA back to court if the NEC’s decision to ban her is not reversed.