7 July 2023 – The South African Football Association (SAFA) has laid charges against Bart Henderson for circulating defamatory statements and starting a petition against the Association, the President Dr Danny Jordaan and CFO Gronie Hluyo.
SAFA Vice President Bennett Bailey, CEO Lydia Monyepao, CFO Hluyo, former General Manager of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Legacy Trust, Joe Carrim, and SAFA’s legal representative, Lesedi Mphahlele, addressed the members of the media at SAFA House on Friday (7 July 2023) and gave them an update on the action being taken against Henderson. Also present were representatives of the forensics department at law firm ENSafrica.
Henderson, who claims he is a forensic investigator, said he was recently employed by a former Trustee of the now dissolved 2010 FIFA World Cup Legacy Trust and was asked to investigate SAFA and the Trust, for supposed fraud and corruption.
SAFA rejected the false accusations and a case was opened against Henderson at Booysen Police Station in Johannesburg following a decision by the NEC last month.
“So following the decision of the SAFA NEC on 17 June 2023, and as I was briefed by SAFA, it was to take legal action against this individual called Bart Henderson for the so-called forensic report, an article that he published, together with the petition,” he said.
“We analyzed how this article came about, how this forensic report came about, its authenticity, or the weight of this reported article and it was clear from a legal point of view that this amounted to defamation. That was the first thing. Secondly, this individual used private information of SAFA. It became clear that this amounted to defamation. But not only defamation in terms of a civil lawsuit that you could take, but also criminal defamation.
“And further, we came to a conclusion that this individual has violated the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act, because he used private information, which he processed, without the consent of SAFA. He never contacted anyone at SAFA for that matter while conducting the so-called investigation, to get input and/or permission to use whatever documentation he had.”
Mphahlele said following the NEC’s decision to pursue legal action, the SAFA CEO drafted an affidavit that was used to lay the charges against Henderson.
Two charges were laid, that of criminal defamation, and the second one being in contravention of Section 11(1) of the POPI Act, which prohibits any individual or organisational body from processing private and personal information without the consent of the data subject. And so those are the two charges which were opened.
SAFA CEO Monyepao said it was necessary and important to take this course of action to defend the Association against unrelenting attacks.
Carrim said the final report was submitted to FIFA and he will happily defend the position of the Trust in court if he is required to.
“From where we are sitting, the Trust has done its job. The information pertaining to the work of the Trust is out there and available in the close-out report and we will wait to see how far this goes,” he said.