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Mbalula not in Ukraine while Zuma voices support for Putin, calls him ’a man of peace’

Former president Jacob Zuma came out in support of Russian President Vladimir Putin calling him “a man of peace”. File photo: Ivan Sekretarev

Former president Jacob Zuma came out in support of Russian President Vladimir Putin calling him “a man of peace”. File photo: Ivan Sekretarev

Published Mar 7, 2022


Gauteng: Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula is very much not in Ukraine as he is currently conducting an oversight visit to driving licence test centres (DLTC) in the Gauteng province.

The minister had created quite a buzz around him when he tweeted, “Just landed in Ukraine” on Saturday morning at 10.53am.

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Twitter users blasted Mbalula for the tweet, with some raising questions on whether the minister was attempting to make a joke out of a serious situation, while others raised the fact that South Africa’s transport system was in shambles and needed his attention more than Russia and Ukraine conflict.

Twitter user, Ndaba Mazabane, wrote: “This is a BAD JOKE from a supposed government minister! Do you think what’s happening in Ukraine is a joke? Please DELETE this tweet and APOLOGISE!”

Another user, Lorenzo Davids, took the mickey out of Mbalula by composing a short poem that read:

The Minister went to Ukraine

While the people waited on a train

He announced his trip like it’s a vacation

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While people scratched through bricks to find a station

He’s going to inspect the war he says

While the suspects that warred on our stations are still on paid vacation.

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Mbalula remained silent on Twitter until Sunday at 14.48, when he tweeted that he would conduct an oversight visit to DLTCs in the Gauteng province.

“I will also speak on the approaching deadline for the Extension of Licence Validity and other related issues,” he tweeted.

Meanwhile, on Sunday evening, former president Jacob Zuma released a statement on the Russia and Ukraine conflict via his foundation.

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Zuma came out in support of Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling him “a man of peace”.

The foundation released the statement after Zuma “felt it would be remiss of him” not to share his thoughts on the developments in the Russia and Ukraine conflict.

He said that Putin had been “very patient” with the western forces and that the Russian leader has been “crystal clear” about his opposition to the eastern expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) into Ukraine.

“Surely, in terms of efforts to achieve world peace, the sovereignty of Ukraine and all the democratic dictates cannot mean allowing Nato to establish a presence on its real estate, thus, establishing an untenable security risk to Russia. Ukraine and Russia are separated only by a line on the map and not the Baltic Sea - Why is this complicated to understand?” Zuma said.

He said Ukraine was being used as a front so that Russia could be brought to its knees through unjustifiable sanctions.

Zuma said it “looks justifiable that Russia felt provoked”, and it was “quite fortunate” that Putin, unlike other small countries, had the capacity to respond to security threats in line with the prescripts that were applicable to his country.

“His actions, whereas justifiable, are still a far cry as compared with what other big powers have done when faced with such a situation.

“Some western powers, who are today playing holier than thou, have invaded a number of small countries in the world, e.g. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya to name but a few,” Zuma said.

“I am certain that His Excellency President Vladimir Putin will reciprocate and will bring all in his power to make peace a reality, as I know him to be a man of peace who has worked hard to ensure peace and stability in the globe,” added Zuma.

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Political Bureau