South Africa rejects FIFA’s claim that a $10-million bribe was paid by the country to win the right to host the World Cup in 2010, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said on Thursday.
“South Africa did not pay any bribe nor did it illegally obtain the right to host the World Cup,” he told a news conference in Cape Town.
He said Fifa must retract its statement made on Wednesday, when it sought restitution in US courts from former Fifa executive committee members it said had accepted bribes in the awarding of World Cup hosting rights.
“We paid money to a legacy project in the African Diaspora in the Caribbean,” Mbalula said.
Mbalula on Thursday refused to answer questions on whether the wealthy and influential Gupta family offered him his position before President Jacob Zuma appointed him, but quickly added that the country was not run by the family.
“I’m not going to answer that question. We are not governed by Guptas. We are not run by Guptas,” Mbalula said.
Pressed by journalists, Mbalula insisted he did not owe anyone any explanations.
Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema had previously claimed in Parliament that he was with Mbalula when he received a phone call from the Guptas offering him his current position.
“I’m very sorry. I am not going to entertain any aspersions that are based on fiction,” visibly angry Mbalula said.
“The onus is on someone who makes such allegations to prove them. I do not dance to music I never composed. I compose my own music.”
Mbalula said he was appointed by Zuma and seconded by the ANC to serve in his current position.
Pressure has been mounting on those holding top government posts to disclose whether the Guptas had any influence on their appointments.
This follows the admission by Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas on Wednesday that the Guptas offered him then Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene’s job.