|Under pressure: Bobby Motaung|
BOBBY MOTAUNG was arrested by the Hawks today. Kaizer Chiefs haven’t had much to say about it, the police refuse to confirm it… but the word is he’s going to be charged with corruption, fraud and possibly more.
For those who live in peculiar Pofadder and no nothing about the world out there, Bobby is a major player in South African football. He is the son of Kaizer Motaung, who founded South Africa’s most popular club in 1972 after a glittering career in the NPSL.
While Kaizer happily played with and against the greats of the world game – Pele, Franz Beckenbauer and George Best – and earned a reputation as a great South African long before Apartheid was assigned to the dustbin, his son Bobby was gifted the job of a lifetime by his father.
Last season, when he was under-fire for the way he does the general manager’s job at Naturena, Bobby famously told us: “I didn’t need a CV for this career. Kaizer Chiefs is a family business. Nothing you can say will worry me. I wasn’t appointed by the ANC.”
I said at the time that attitude stinks – and his father backed me up, apologising for his son’s behaviour. I suggested Bobby’s youngest brother Kaizer Junior would be a better figurehead, or his sister Jessica, currently the club’s marketing manager.
But Bobby carried on serenely, signing players, doing deals, insisting Tower Mathoho should go from Bloemfontein Celtic to the Amakhosi, even though they were offering half of what Mamelodi Sundowns were prepared to pay.
There was that difficult time pre-season, when the Motaungs were in mourning for a family member and Bobby left Jessica to present his new signings. In a hurried affair timed to coincide with the arrival of new coach Stuart Baxter, they presented seven new players including Kingston Nkatha, who was still under contract at Leopards and, famously, the No3 shirt which they hoped Tower would one day wear. It was a farce.
And in their opening competitive game of the season, both Bobby and Baxter – who lied on his CV and was clearly the cheap, malleable choice – were holding their heads in their hands as Chiefs went 4-0 down against Sundowns in just 37 minutes on the way to a drubbing.
Of course, they went on to record a rousing 6-0 win over AmaZulu in their opening PSL clash last Saturday but it’s possible to see that result as a simple papering over of the cracks at the AmaKhosi.
The Hawks are refusing tonight to confirm the identities of the “two prominent people” arrested on theft and forgery charges “related to the construction of the R1 billion Mbombela stadium in Nelspruit in Mpumalanga.
Ironically, I’m about half-an-hour from the giraffe-adorned stadium at Mjejane River Lodge enjoying the wild life. I didn’t expect the big game to be hunted down quite so close to here. Understandably, Hawks Spokesperson McIntosh Polela “can neither confirm nor deny” that Bobby Motaung was picked up this morning.
But I can confirm Bobby is due to appear in court, one of THREE men who, according to Polela, are due to appear in court tomorrow.
Polela told the SABC: "It's regarding the alleged fraud forging of a South African Revenue Services (SARS) document to apply for a tender contract to work in relation to the Mbombela stadium. What happened is that the Hawks as well as SARS have arrested a person in Naturena as well as Cape Town and we are currently looking for a third person."
The fabulous Mbombela Stadium, built in the footballing wilderness just south of the Kruger Park on the road to Mocambinque, might have been better of had it been designed with white elephants rather than giraffes as a support structure.
And few need reminding that the Mbombela Local Municipality's speaker, Jimmy Mohlala, was gunned down at his home in Kanyamazane in 2009, after threatening to blow the whistle on the alleged corruption related to the tender and construction of the stadium.
I know nothing of such goings-on. Only that Bobby was warned he wasn’t above the rules of ordinary men. He may be the son of Kaizer, but from where I stand, he was never fit to lace the great man’s boots.