Mbalula says sorry to Dlamini Zuma, but will not back down on Mkhwebane ’hired gun’ comments
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Johannesburg - Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has apologised to the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma over his unsavoury tweet about her ANC presidential campaign in 2017.
In his tweet on Monday, Mbalula was reacting to an earlier tweet of the Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, Lindiwe Sisulu, about a dinner hosted by former president Jacob Zuma ahead of the ANC elective conference in December 2017.
Sisulu had posted a picture of all seven candidates who were vying for the ANC presidency which included her, Jeff Radebe, Dlamini Zuma and President Cyril Ramaphosa.
In her tweet, which elicited Mbalula’s reaction, Sisulu said: “Oh what a night! Dinner of the presidential hopefuls in 2017. It was a good meeting and a wonderful time for all.# throwback.”
This prompted Mbalula to take to Twitter and insinuate that Zuma had wanted to create a family dynasty of some sort within the ANC through the failed election of Dlamini Zuma as party president.
Mbalula, when faced with a backlash on the same platform, chose to apologise for his perceived references to Dlamini Zuma.
For Immediate Release Attention: News Editors— Minister of Transport |Mr Fix (@MbalulaFikile) March 9, 2021
Date: 9 March 2021
APOLOGY FOR REFERENCES TO CDE NKOSAZANA DLAMINI-ZUMA pic.twitter.com/G2rUDVkbKf
In his apology, he said: “On March 8 2021, a tweet on my timeline making reference to Cde Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, on a comment about a dinner hosted by former President Zuma with candidates who were contesting the ANC Presidency, appears to have been construed as an attack on Cde Dlamini Zuma.
“It is regretful and unfortunate that my comment may have come across as an attack on the person and integrity of Cde Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, as this was never the intention.
“I therefore unreservedly apologise to Cde Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and wish to assure her that I will keep her name out of any political battles and commentary.”
The apology came as the ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte had already indicated to Independent Media that the ANC was likely to bring disciplinary charges against Mbalula for breach of organisational media policy.
However, Mbalula was unrepentant on his allegation that Public Protector, advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, was a “hired gun” despite criminal charges of crimen injuria and contempt were laid against him on Wednesday.
Reacting to the charges, the Minister said: “I wish to reiterate that I stand by my views that she has conducted herself as a hired gun, more interested in pursuing partisan political agendas rather than uphold the stature of the office of the Public Protector, with the responsibility to place the interests of the citizens first.
“I therefore remain ready to meet her in court to defend my statement.”