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Danny Jordaan. Picture: SOWETAN
Danny Jordaan. Picture: SOWETAN

At a little after 10am on Thursday, the sound of the microwave beeping was akin to the singing of angels. The microwave has become the de facto alert for millions of South Africans to tell them the electricity has been switched back on. 

It didn’t last long. Someone had made a mistake and turned us on two hours too soon into our four-hour powerless block and five minutes later, they flicked it off again. It was over before it had begun. Premature electrification.

From 8am until 8pm our area was scheduled to have eight hours of load-shedding. From the kitchen table where I am writing this, I can see my fridge, emptied of all contents, the door open to rid it of the musty smell of food that had sat in a dark, warm place where nothing was working for too long.

The fridge, my wife says, has been traumatised by load-shedding. I know how the fridge feels. It’s a “no-frost fridge”, but it doesn’t do what it says on the label. During protracted power outages, the condenser thingy in the freezer bit ices up and stops the fan that delivers the air to the fridge section from working, according to the plumber who came and diagnosed it within 10 seconds.

His advice was to use a hairdryer on it. I’ve gone with a pot of boiled water in the freezer to de-ice the poor thing. Our freezer was like a steam room for jockeys on Thursday.

Empty, not working properly and continually needing to be fixed. Our fridge has much in common with the SA Football Association. Safa recently announced Lydia Monyepao would replace Tebogo Motlanthe as CEO, Safa’s seventh since 2010. Some of those have been permanent and some of them acting, and most of them have left with rumours of grumbles. Except for Dennis Mumble, who didn’t mumble this week when he called Safa president Danny Jordaan a “bold-faced liar”.

Jordaan, in trying to defend Safa’s appointment of CEOs like Oprah gives away freebies, suggested that Mumble left because he was of retirement age.

“There was never a single moment where retirement age was part of a conversation because I was already nearly 60 when I was first appointed,” Mumble told the SABC. “So, he’s a bold-faced liar. The common denominator is that his interference, his abuse of power and his disrespect for other people is palpable.

“He already humiliated poor Lydia in front of other people during an event in Durban last year, indicating that he will continue to treat her like dirt. The sooner he resigns, the better for SA football,” said Mumble.

Monyepao, who had been Safa’s COO, was full of first day of school joy when appointed: “I am capable of hitting the ground running … I am not naive in terms of what is required for this job. I know the challenges that have surrounded any CEO of Safa, I am not blind to that,” she said.

Those challenges will include sorting out Safa’s finances. The CashnSport site had a deep dive into Safa’s money situation. Safa reported a small loss of R2.9m with revenue having been boosted by “2022 Fifa World Cup qualifier TV rights and a rise in sponsorship income from R167m to R191m”.

But, “to help balance the books Safa borrowed $1,500,000 from Fifa which can be repaid over three years with payments of $250,000 every six months from January 2023 until July 2025”, reported CashnSport. Safa also have a loan from Delphisure Group Insurance Brokers at 11% interest for three years, costing them R216,980 every month.

They have been hit by the SABC’s reduction in broadcast fees and the loss of sponsors, namely SAA, Burger King, SAB, Transnet and Outsurance.

“A consistent problem over the years for Safa has been their current asset ratio, which was 0.26:1 for the year ended June 30 2022,” reported CashnSport. “In other words, Safa would only be able to pay off approximately 26% of their current liabilities with the current assets they have on hand. This suggests Safa may have difficulty meeting its short-term financial obligations if they come due.”

Monyepao, who is not blind to this, may hit the ground running into and out of office, given the way of things at Safa House. There is an emptiness about the words and actions coming from Safa, where nothing seems to work for too long, it continually needs fixing and the musty smell of old men behaving badly is overwhelming.

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