Mixed reactions to Fikile Mbalula's apology to Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma after Twitter rant

10 March 2021 - 10:51
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula.
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula.
Image: Esa Alexander

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has received a mixed bag of responses on Twitter after he issued an apology to Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Mbalula came under fire at the weekend after he accused former president Jacob Zuma of wanting to have a monopoly on the presidency. He was commenting on a 2017 photo of presidential candidates. The picture was shared by water and sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu.

Mbalula said Zuma organised the dinner because he believed “his wife” would win.

“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.

The tweet didn't age well, as many accused the minister of attacking Dlamini-Zuma.

“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.

In the same statement, Mbalula said he was unfazed by “a threat” by public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, who has opened a case of crimen injuria against the minister after he called her a “hired gun” on Twitter at the weekend.

Others said it was distasteful that the minister apologised to Dlamini-Zuma and responded to Mkhwebane in the same statement to “boost his ego”. The minister should have issued separate statements, they suggested.

Here are some of the reactions to his apology: