Sacked Bafana Bafana coach Ephraim ‘‘Shakes" Mashaba’s threat to challenge his dismissal by the South African Football Association (Safa) is unlikely to hold back the search for his replacement.
Safa CEO Dennis Mumble told Business Day on Wednesday that while Safa would follow whatever the law orders it to do‚ there was nothing to suggest that the search to find a new Bafana coach would not officially begin in the coming days.
Safa was comfortable in the knowledge that it had followed all the proper channels during the disciplinary hearing that led to Mashaba’s dismissal from his R500,000-a-month job in December, Mumble said.
‘‘The issue is we have a watertight case that we are 200% sure we cannot lose‚" Mumble said. ‘‘We went through a meticulous process to make sure that all the parties were represented fairly [during the disciplinary hearing].
‘‘The process was run by an independent chairperson [advocate TT Serero] and we even bent over backwards when we could not get hold of him [Mashaba] before the hearing.
‘‘And when we finally got hold of him on another phone‚ he asked for a postponement and we granted him that. That ticks off the fairness column."
The hearing only got under way in December.
Mashaba’s legal representative — BBM Law — said on Tuesday they were taking the case to the Commission for Conciliation‚ Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and the firms believes they have a strong case.
Mashaba — who was found guilty on several charges‚ including gross misconduct and insubordination — now wants to be reinstated as he believes he was dismissed unfairly. Should he not be reinstated‚ he wants to be paid out the remainder of a contract that was to run until the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Claudio Bollo of BBM Law confirmed this stance to Business Day and said the firm had communicated its intention to take Mashaba’s case to the CCMA in a letter to Safa.
Given that Bafana had no games until March‚ the firm had asked Safa not to rush to appoint a new coach as it was in the process of filing papers to the CCMA in the coming days.
‘‘All we are saying is do not rush to appoint someone new when this could make things difficult if the coach [Mashaba] is proven right‚" Bollo said.
But Mumble‚ who is on leave in the Eastern Cape‚ said he had yet to receive the letter from Bollo.
Mashaba’s well documented skirmishes with the media also contributed to his sacking.
Bafana’s 2018 World Cup qualifiers are not expected to be threatened by the pending legal battle as they resume in September with back-to-back games home and away games against the Cape Verde Islands.