Gauteng MEC Faith Mazibuko hits back after leaked 'combi courts' recording
Gauteng’s sport, arts, culture and recreation MEC Faith Mazibuko has rubbished claims that she gave "unlawful instructions" to her staff during a "confidential meeting" in an attempt to gain support for the ANC ahead of the national elections on May 8.
This after audio of Mazibuko speaking to staff became public. In that meeting, Mazibuko told staff they should roll out "combi courts", facilities that can accommodate a variety of sports, before the elections, in an apparent attempt to garner support for the ruling ANC.
Responding to the allegations and the emergence of the audio, her department said Mazibuko was merely pushing for service delivery targets to be met.
"The department would like to state that at no stage in any meeting with her staff did MEC Mazibuko give unlawful instructions, except to stress the importance of achieving performance targets of the department and fulfilling promises made to communities as part of service delivery agreements," departmental spokesperson Nomazwe Ntlokwana said on Wednesday evening.
AmaBhungane reported that Mazibuko was pressuring staff to deliver sporting facilities ahead of the elections, "with seemingly little regard for tender processes and legal prescripts". It reported that Mazibuko demanded the combi courts be rolled out because "we want to use it to campaign and win elections".
AmaBhungane further reported that her anger was sparked after her staff pointed out that there might be a rollover on the combi courts to the next financial year.
"I want those combi courts. How you do that, if it means you go and construct them with your hands, you better do it. No rollover of that money of combi courts," Mazibuko is heard saying.
A staffer who attempts to state the procurement process is interrupted by Mazibuko: "It doesn't matter. I don't want stories, I want combi courts."
The department said the recording was taken during a "confidential meeting" between Mazibuko and executive managers in the department.
"The MEC [Mazibuko] has always believed and maintained that the implementation of projects should be done expeditiously within the prescripts of the law.
"The MEC categorically denies all allegations of interference in administrative matters," Ntlokwana said.
Ntlokwana, however, struggled to explain in an interview with Radio 702 on Thursday what the MEC meant in the clip where she appeared to give a direct instruction to her staff to flout procurement procedures.
When presenter Bongani Bingwa offered to play the clip when she appeared to be avoiding the question, she responded: "Don’t worry, we have the clip, my dear."
Ntlokwana then said: "The MEC, whatever she was saying, was not literally saying the executive managers must go against the prescripts of the law."
Asked if state security operatives were going after the whistleblower who leaked the recording, she said: "The meeting that was held was a confidential meeting between the MEC and senior managers.
"It is a given fact that should anything of this nature then happen [a leak] there would be a need for investigations."