Angry opposition political parties have demanded that KZN Premier Zweli Mkhize interrogate Economic Development and Tourism MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu on where the R100 000 in cash for his bail came from.
DA provincial leader Sizwe Mchunu described the payment by Mabuyakhulu’s head of ministry, S’manga Sethene, as “disturbing”, and said he was looking forward to responses from Mabuyakhulu and Mkhize to his parliamentary questions on the matter.
Reacting to the department’s failure to prove this week to the Sunday Tribune that taxpayers’ money was not used, Mchunu said public funds could not be used to fund people who had been charged with crimes or maladministration.
“It sends the wrong message about the selective application of the rules, where politicians and influential people do as they want and have expenses paid by taxpayers.
“Politicians are voted into office to uphold the law, not to have their legal expenses paid for by taxpayers.
“It’s… terrible for our province and for the credibility of our government.”
The African Christian Democratic Party’s Jo-Ann Downs said she would ask parliamentary questions and approach Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to take the matter further.
Downs said that if public funds had been used, this would mark the continuation of a trend in terms of which the ANC treats public money as if it were its own.
“There is absolutely nothing on earth that gives the head of a ministry the right to pay bail money for his MEC using public funds,” she said.
IFP provincial leader Blessed Gwala said that if public funds were used, his party would be vindicated in saying the whole provincial government was corrupt.
Gwala said he was concerned that many acts of fraud and corruption appeared to be happening “right under the premier’s nose”.
“If the premier is failing to eradicate this corruption under his nose, then that means he will never win the fight. The IFP wants to see the premier coming clean.”