Mbalula labels Dubai trip allegations 'malicious, smear campaign'

Fikile Mbalula has not revealed any details about the trip and insists there was nothing untoward

FILE: Police Minister Fikile Mbalula. Picture: EWN.

PRETORIA - Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has described as malicious and a smear campaign a report that he bagged a free holiday from a sports good supplier when he was Sports Minister.

Eyewitness News revealed on Monday that Sascoc clothing supplier Sedgars allegedly paid for a portion of Mbalula’s new year family holiday worth an estimated R680,000.

Mbalula has not revealed any details about the trip and insists there was nothing untoward, but the records that EWN has seen suggests otherwise.

Speaking on the Karima Brown Show on Talk Radio 702 on Monday night, the minister says he is consulting his lawyers.

“For all those who have basically alleged whatever they have alleged or stated as facts, I’m consulting with my legal people.”

Meanwhile, Corruption Watch’s David Lewis says he is not satisfied with Mbalula's explanation.

“All that’s interesting is to clarify whether his holiday was paid for or not, or partly paid for, by this company that was interested presumably in his decision-making powers at the time, given what they do and what he does. That question is not answered.”

DELETED TWEETS

While the Police Ministry has yet to release a statement dealing with Minister Fikile Mbalula's Dubai holiday, his advisor has let on how they might respond in a series of now-deleted tweets.

When EWN tweeted a teaser about the story on Sunday night, Mbalula's advisor Bo Mbindwane responded on social media, before quickly deleting those comments.

While the minister has denied any wrongdoing, Sedgars has denied paying for the trip.

Mbindwane tweeted that the story was malicious and reaches wrong conclusions based on the reporter’s personal prejudices against Minister Mbalula.

He tweeted there will be no great reveal but rather allegations of impropriety based on speculation which is aimed to undermine Mbalula’s rights.

The minister’s advisor then deleted those tweets.

EWN has disclosed all gathered information to Mbalula since July but instead of providing clarity or offering comment, he’s argued that such questions are an invasion of his privacy.

The Democratic Alliance says it will submit questions to Parliament, where he’ll have a tougher time trying to escape accountability.

At the same time, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) says it takes serious exception to these allegations.

EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi says they have written a letter to the minister.

“We have written to him to confirm these allegations publicly through our parliamentary caucus and we hope upon the confirmation, the relevant law enforcement officers, including the SAPS, will make sure that they squeeze Minister Mbalula out of the Cabinet and public office.”

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)