Mkhwebane finds Sedgars paid for Mbalula's Dubai trip

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane made the announcement at a briefing in Pretoria on Wednesday.

FILE: Fikile Mbalula. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has found that a sports supplier paid for former Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula's R680,000 holiday to Dubai in 2016.

Mkhwebane made the announcement at a briefing in Pretoria on Wednesday.

"I found the allegation that the former minister, Mr Mbalula, violated Executive Members' Ethics Code when he undertook a family vacation was substantiated. Indeed the trip was undertaken."

Eyewitness News revealed a year ago that sporting goods supplier Sedgars funded the family holiday.

Advocate Mkhwebane says Mbalula claimed he took a loan from Sedgars director Yusuf Dockrat to pay for his holiday and that he has paid back the money.

But she rejects this version, saying there is no evidence of a loan agreement and he only paid back the funds after a report by EWN.

But the Public Protector has found this to be untrue.

"He then stated that he had the necessary funds which he had verbally asked for a loan from Mr Dockrat so that he can cover the travelling. There's no evidence in my position that Mr Mbalula obtained a loan."

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The Public Protector has asked the authorities to investigate Mbalula on possible corruption and money laundering charges.

Mkhwebane has referred the matter to the Financial Intelligence Centre and the National Prosecuting Authority.

“If the NPA is investigating whether those were proceeds of money laundering, surely the investigation won’t solely focus on that. They will have to investigate whether indeed it was corruption and whether there’s any case for Mr Mbalula to answer to.”

Mbalula was found to have violated the Constitution and executive ethics code.

Mbalula is now the head of the African National Congress elections office.