South Africa

‘Anger misdirected’: Chippa Mpengesi blamed after break in at Safa’s East London offices


A war between PSL outfit, Chippa United, and the South African Football Association (Safa) has seen the administrative governing body’s regional offices at Buffalo City stadium broken into, with furniture and files thrown out onto the streets of East London.

Chippa United, which entered into a 20-year lease with the Buffalo City metropolitan municipality to use the stadium for PSL matches, does not want Safa to continue using its offices situated at the venue.

Security risk

The owner of the club, Siviwe “Chippa” Mpengesi, did not deny the break-in accusations when The Citizen contacted him on Saturday, but explained why he did not want Safa at the stadium.

“Concerning their tenancy in particular, practical issues such as the fact that Buffalo City Stadium was now poised to host big events, where dignitaries from the president of the republic to premiers would be in attendance posed security issues and because the Safa office is a public office there was a need for them to move,” Mpengesi said.

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Safa president in the region Mxolisi Sibam said he reported the November break-in to the police.

The association scheduled a march on Saturday to the stadium to had over a petition to Mpengesi demanding his club’s immediate exit from the stadium and ending of all ties with the Metro.

The Safa petition demands:

  1. Our offices back.
  2. Chippa group of companies vacates the Buffalo City Stadium
  3. Buffalo City municipality does not fund or invest in any project, program of business that involves Chippa group of companies.

Serious assault of the national team

Sibam described the booting out of Safa allegedly by the Chippa group of companies as a serious assault to a regional football development structure and all Safa structures in the country, including the national office and national teams.

“We are requesting the people and residents of Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality to support us by boycotting all events, programs, businesses and matches that involve Chippa United and the Chippa group of companies,” the Safa president said in a statement. 

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The association further demanded Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality to stop doing business with all companies that involve Mpengesi and Ngcane Madikizela-Renene, who are the chairperson and CEO of the Chippa Group of companies respectively.

“The staff of the Chippa group of companies forcefully broke into our offices and removed our documents, files, furniture and equipment,” Sibam added.  

2010 World Cup legacy project

Safa’s offices at the Buffalo City Stadium was allocated to the association as a 2010 FIFA World Cup legacy project after national government, through the Eastern Cape government, allocated R50 million to build football facilities within the metropolitan municipality.

About R22 million of this amount was invested by the city to the Buffalo City stadium, hence Safa’s Buffalo City office was placed at the stadium in 2009.

According to Sibam, Safa Buffalo City was the only football region in the country located in a city, where there was a 2010 FIFA World Cup legacy facility that was not accommodated in that facility.

“All other football regions in the metropolitan cities are accommodated in such facilities,” said Sibam.  

Misdirection

But Mpengesi said Safa’s anger was misdirected, highly prejudicial and invalid.

“The purpose of the [Chippa United] lease is to fully utilize the facility which was in a state of disrepair and develop football and other sporting codes, our company having the necessary facilities management and football experience through Chippa United FC,” Mpengesi said.

He added that his company spent millions to repair and upgrade the venue.

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Mpengesi said in cooperation with Safa and Chippa, a plan to accommodate the football governing body at the adjacent Jan Smuts Stadium facility could be made.

Buffalo City Metro spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya said he will respond at a later stage.

The police could not immediately comment about the break-in. Their comment will be added once received.