Mbalula apologises to Dlamini-Zuma after Twitter rant, but is ready to meet Mkhwebane in court
'I stand by my views that she conducted herself as a hired gun'
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has apologised to co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma after a Twitter rant.
At the weekend Mbalula accused former president Jacob Zuma, who is Dlamini-Zuma’s ex-husband, of wanting to create a family dynasty after a picture of a 2017 presidential hopefuls dinner emerged on the platform.
“Zuma is not a saint. He was a disaster for this country. Big one. Try me I’ll tell you why. Zuma organised this [dinner] with a firm belief his wife will win. We all got shocked. Long live David Mabuza for saving us from this monarch disaster. Viva Dabede [sic],” he tweeted.
Shortly afterwards the minister came under fire for his sentiments, which were described as an attack on Dlamini-Zuma.
On Tuesday, Mbalula issued an apology using his Twitter account.
“It is regretful and unfortunate that my comment may have come across as an attack on the person and integrity of comrade Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, as this was never the intention. I therefore unreservedly apologise to Dlamini-Zuma and wish to assure her I will keep her name out of any political battles and commentary,” he said.
Over the weekend Mbalula also took aim at public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, tweeting she was a “hired gun, not a public protector”.
The comments sparked controversy and prompted Mkhwebane to open a case of crimen injuria.
Mbalula was, however, unfazed by the move and maintained his sentiments.
“In the same vein, having noted the threat by the public protector, Ms Busisiwe Mkhwebane, to take me to court over my references to her, I wish to reiterate that I stand by my views that she 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 interest of the citizens first,” he said.
“I therefore remain ready to meet her in court to defend my statement.”
Mbalula has been tweeting candidly for the past two days, first responding to a Sunday Times report that ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule had instructed ANC MPs to vote against a parliamentary move to remove Mkhwebane from office.
“Ace Magashule is wrong to suggest Mkhwebane can’t be removed. Yes, as a friend to Mkhwebane he can express that view, but not on behalf of the ANC,” Mbalula tweeted.
“Which structure of ANC arrived at such a position? Mkhwebane is being charged with misconduct. Let’s talk about that.”