Johannesburg - Former sports minister and ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula has been given time off to seek legal advice against a damning Public Protector report on his controversial R680 000 family trip to Dubai.
This was confirmed by ANC acting spokesperson Dakota Legoete in a radio interview on Thursday following media questions about Mbalula’s lack of prompt reaction to the findings against him. Mbalula has since Wednesday not been contactable.
Legoete said the ANC’s elections boss has been given some time to seek legal advice as the facts in Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report “are not the way he knows them”.
The ANC also said it would only discuss the findings on Mbalula during its national executive committee meeting on January 6 in KwaZulu-Natal before its annual January 8 birthday celebrations.
While Mbalula has gone silent, Treasury boss Dondo Mogajane has admitted that he was convicted for a speeding offence seven years ago but did not disclose it to the government when he applied for the senior post.
On Thursday, the National Treasury said Mogajane - its director-general - has noted the findings of the Public Protector relating to the disclosure of his criminal record. Treasury said the criminal record arose from a payment of an admission of guilt fine in 2011 after he was caught speeding.
Mogajane has vowed not to comment any further until he reads Mkhwebane’s finding. In her report, Mkhwebane revealed that Mogajane initially failed to make such a disclosure when he applied for the position of deputy director-general in 2015.
She said he also acted dishonestly in his Z83 application form for the position by failing to disclose that he had a criminal record.
Mkhwebane also said former finance minister Malusi Gigaba acted improperly when he appointed Mogajane to the position of DG despite being aware that Mogajane failed to declare his criminal record.
The public protector has asked President Cyril Ramaphosa to take disciplinary action against Mogajane within 30 days of her finding.
Mkhwebane also made a damning finding against Western Cape Premier Helen Zille. The latter has since threatened to challenge the finding in court.
Outa and Saftu expressed mixed reactions on Mkhwebane's findings, especially the ruling on Zille. Outa chief executive Wayne Duvenage has openly endorsed Mkhwebane’s ruling that Zille had potentially exposed herself to a risk of conflict of interest when she facilitated the delivery of tablets so her son Paul Maree and a fellow teacher could help matric pupils at a Khayelitsha school for their matric revision workshop.
Duvenage said: “While on the surface Zille’s gesture to support her son in providing much-needed extra tuition to under-resourced children appears to be for the greater good, undue influence is a slippery slope. The law needs to be applied equally to everyone.”
Saftu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi gave Zille the benefit of doubt but slammed Mbalula for allowing a family trip to Dubai to be paid for by a firm doing business with government.