Fikile Mbalula threatened me over branded vehicles – Limpopo ANC activist Steve Sefofa
Pretoria - Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula is embroiled in a war of words with Limpopo ANC activist Steve Sefofa, popularly known as Malo A Botsheba, who accused him of threatening him for branding vehicles with the images of party secretary Ace Magashule and provincial treasurer Danny Msiza.
This comes after Mbalula warned Sefofa in a conversation – which was recorded – that his behaviour was “anti-ANC” and that he was “asking for trouble”.
Speaking to Pretoria News yesterday, Sefofa said Mbalula had complained about the musician’s branding of his fleet of taxis with Magashule’s and Msiza’s images, with the message “Hands Off” written on them.
Msiza is in trouble with the law over allegations of looting the VBS Mutual Bank with 13 others, while Magashule is facing criminal charges linked to a R255 million asbestos contract while he was premier of the Free State.
In a video circulating on social media, Sefofa is seen displaying his branded taxis and can be heard declaring his support for the pair.
Sefofa also said that he would be criss-crossing the country to mobilise for support from ANC branches for the two leaders, who have been ordered by the ANC to step aside pending the outcome of their court cases in line with the recent NEC resolution. It requires all party leaders charged with corruption and other serious crimes to vacate office. The two ANC leaders are part of the so-called radical economic transformation (RET) group in the ANC who are challenging the authority of President Cyril Ramaphosa both in the party and the state. They accuse the president of failing to implement key resolutions of the ANC’s 54th national conference, an accusation Ramaphosa has denied.
Sefofa confirmed branding vehicles with images of Magashule and Msiza but denied any wrongdoing.
“I branded it with Magashule and Danny Msiza. On top of that, there is no ANC logo on Danny Msiza. On Ace there is just a logo, but the colour is not for the ANC. I wrote hands off. And remember, you are innocent until proven guilty. For me to say hands off, I am not saying they have committed crime or not,” Sefofa said. “Ace is secretary-general and Msiza is provincial treasurer. They have not yet been removed from office.”
He said he branded his taxis and cars long before the ANC national executive committee (NEC) decided on the implementation of the step-aside policy. Sefofa accused Mbalula, who is a member of the ANC’s NEC and national working committee (NWC), of having threatened him.
“Now I am being threatened by a minister. Just imagine? He’s not above the law. What about freedom of speech?” he said.
In the audio recording, Mbalula said: “These taxis you are branding here, gore (that) they must travel the whole country, hands off Magashule, hands off Msiza! What are you trying to do?”
After Sefofa tried to explain himself, denying any factionalism and declaring his love for the ANC, Mbalula interjected: “Hey, Malo, I am asking you about the taxis here that you are line-uping here?
Sefofa responded: “Remember, when I say ‘hands off’, it doesn’t mean a person I support or don’t support, or what they have done. I don’t even understand hands off.” After a brief verbal exchange, Mbalula warned Sefofa: “You are inviting trouble wena. Yourself. In the way of doing nonsense and doing things that are anti-ANC in the name of the ANC. What are you trying to do? The organisation is bleeding, comrades are appearing in court, what is your problem?”
Mbalula yesterday accused Sefofa of lying in claiming he made threats against him.
He conceded, however, that he sent him a WhatsApp message that read “Wenzani?”, accompanied by a tweet posted by political analyst Professor Tinyiko Maluleka. The tweet showed a video in which Sefofa talked about going to war to defend Magashule and Msiza.
Mbalula shared the WhatsApp message in which he posed the question with the video with the Pretoria News, saying it formed the context of their conversation.