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'I did not ask dept to take me to Dubai'

Eyewitness News revealed on Monday that Sedgars Sport allegedly bankrolled at least half of the minister’s R680,000 family holiday over the New Year period.

FILE: Police Minister Fikile Mbalula. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN

PRETORIA – While Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has dismissed reports about his Dubai holiday as being part of a smear campaign, he has not denied that it was funded by a South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) clothing supplier, despite being pushed on the issue.

The minister was interviewed on 702 on Monday night, where it was repeatedly put to him that a private company paid for his trip.

Eyewitness News revealed on Monday that Sedgars Sport allegedly bankrolled at least half of the minister’s R680,000 family holiday over the New Year period.

Mbalula has denied any wrongdoing while Sedgars has denied paying for the holiday.

The Police Minister insists that being questioned about his Dubai holiday encroaches on his family’s right to privacy.

“I did not ask the Department of Sports or whichever department of government to take me to Dubai. It was my own personal private arrangement of my family.”

Karima Brown pressed the minister on why a private company paid for his holiday.

“There’s a lot of allegations that have been made and that have been peddled, so I decided to respond to them in my own way.

“And all those particular details you’re asking about, I have said my lawyers must look at them. They will advise me how to respond.”

Mbalula would not confirm whether he has declared the trip to Parliament’s Ethics Committee.

LISTEN: Mbalula: I paid for my own trip

DELETED TWEETS

While the Police Ministry has yet to release a statement dealing with 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.”

For a full report on this story, click here.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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