Dave Mutambara

Dave Mutambara

THE Sports Commission have launched investigations into the shambolic operations of ZIFA, including stepping onto the minefield of the association’s funds, the explosive audited statements from 2010-2014 and the list of debtors and creditors, with a comprehensive report expected to be produced in two months time.

Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Andrew Langa has adopted recommendations from the Sports Commission and a nine-member committee, led by veteran sports administrator Dave Mutambara, is expected to look into the affairs of the country’s troubled football controlling body.

The committee has been mandated to engage FIFA before, during and after the course of their enquiry and they will also look into funds that came in from the world football governing body and transactions involving loans to and from board members, at ZIFA during the past five years.

The committee will also look into the issue of staff salaries and wages at ZIFA, which has become another minefield, after the association’s employees petitioned their chief executive, Jonathan Mashingaidze, over non-payment of their salaries for months.

Staff at ZIFA claim they have gone for 11 months without receiving their salaries while several organisations, who are owed money by the bankrupt association, have been attaching property in a bid to recover their dues.

Last week, ZIFA employees signed a petition demanding their salaries amid revelations that the association has received about US$500 000 from the FIFA World Cup bonus, in the past month, and not even a cent was put towards their welfare.

The committee will also look into the issue of retrenched ZIFA staff.

Mutambara’s committee has also been tasked to look into the frosty relationship between Mashingaidze and some of the ZIFA board members and stakeholder engagement in a national game which critics have claim has been reduced into a personal property run by the association’s chief executive on behalf of its president Cuthbert Dube.

Mashingaidze has already fallen out with ZIFA vice president, Omega Sibanda, the board member (finance) Ben Gwarada and board member in charge of women football, Miriam Sibanda, just a year after they assumed office.

Gwarada has been systematically isolated from the ZIFA financial transactions, for the 11 months that he has been in charge of the association’s financial portfolio, with more than US$1 million having passed through the association’s various bank accounts during that period.

This week the Messenger of Court raided his business offices and attached two luxury minibuses, furniture and computers after ZIFA failed to service a debt related to air tickets secured for the Warriors’ trip to Egypt in 2013.

According to a document, which is in the possession of The Herald, the ZIFA board will remain in office, during the course of the investigations, and the committee’s investigations into governance practices at 53 Livingstone Avenue will be focused on the following key areas:

Constitution;

Strategy;

Convening and frequency of board meetings;

Compliance with SRC and own statutes;

Internal and external communication systems;

Board-CEO relationships and

Affiliates.

To investigate issues relating to the association’s finances in such areas as (Audited Financial Statements for the period 2010 to 2014; debtors and creditors; FIFA funds for FIFA assistance programme and for the FIFA Goal Project.

Staff salaries and wages and outstanding retrenchment packages.

To investigate the transactions involving loans to and from Board members.

To establish the status of football development with relation to — clubs; junior leagues and national teams.

To establish the platforms, extent and frequency of stakeholder engagement in matters of football, as well as the association’s marketing and financial strategy.

Other members of the committee are — Robert Mutsauki (Vice-Chairperson); Ringisai Mapondera (Legal Expert); Rebecca Nhunhama (Financial Expert); Helen Gwaradzimba (Member); Mercy Ndoro (Member); Rita Likukuma (Member); Tutsirai Kapitu (Secretariat, (SRC) and Margaret Chari (Stand-by secretariat, SRC).

According to their mandate, they have “to produce a report with findings and recommendations for presentation to the SRC Board within two months.”

The committee will also visit the following areas, as part of their investigations — Bulawayo, Gweru, Harare, Masvingo and and Mutare — and conduct public hearings. Langa is expected to appear before the parliamentary portfolio committee in Harare today to discuss, among other things, the state of the national game while a pressure group, made up of the Lifelong Footballers’ Trust and the Zimbabwe National Soccer Supporters Association, is also scheduled to take their fight against ZIFA to the High Court today.

The Sports Commission said their actions had a precedent, in Zimbabwe football, in 1997 and 1999 when a similar exercise was undertaken.

“In 1997 and 1999 two Commissions of Enquiry into the management of football in Zimbabwe were set up,” the Sports Commission said in the document in the possession of The Herald.

“This exercise was necessitated by the emergency of serious problems affecting football in the country, particularly — Zimbabwe Football Association’s (ZIFA) finances which continued to dwindle; the serious conflict between ZIFA and the Premier Soccer League (PSL); increasing public outcry over the performance of club and national teams during international competitions and the many squabbles in the sport.

“The reports from the two enquiries unearthed the following, among other findings — the absence of a long-term plan for football activities; inefficient and ineffective administration of football due to lack of skills and competencies; poor calibre of Councillors within the ZIFA Council; absence of a co-ordinated comprehensive national football development policy and programme; poorly defined organisational structure; Absence of marketing and financial strategy and limited participation and capacity building programmes for women in football.

“Early January 2015, Lifelong Footballers’ Trust and the National Football Supporters Association stakeholders raised concerns through the media, relating to the unprofessional manner in which football was being run by the current ZIFA Board, calling for the dissolution of the ZIFA Board and subsequent appointment of a ‘Normalisation Committee’ to resolve the issues bedevilling ZIFA.

“The Minister tasked SRC to investigate and establish the current ZIFA operations, which resulted in SRC convening a meeting with the ZIFA Board on January 31, 2015, where the following issues were deliberated on — ZIFA Strategic Plan; Performance of National Teams; ZIFA Financial and Marketing Strategy; Stakeholder engagement; Governance issues and FIFA projects in Zimbabwe.” — Sports Reporter/Sportszone.