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ANC: 'We still have full confidence in Mbalula as elections head'

The African National Congress (ANC) says it will interrogate the findings of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane against its elections head Fikile Mbalula.

FILE: Fikile Mbalula is seen as he delivers a press conference on the outcomes of the commission on organisational renewal at the ANC’s 54th elective conference. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The African National Congress (ANC) says it will interrogate the findings of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane against its elections head Fikile Mbalula.

The Public Protector's report found Sascoc supplier Sedgars Sport paid at least R300,000 towards Mbalula's Dubai family holiday in 2016 while he was Sports Minister.

Mbalula denied this when Eyewitness News revealed the story last year but the Democratic Alliance (DA) and AfriForum reported the matter to the Public Protector.

The ANC's acting spokesperson Dakota Legwete says: “We still believe and have confidence in Comrade Mbalula’s version.

“We’ll still engage him going forward but now I’ll not want to pronounce whether he’s going to DC or integrity committee or whatever. There’s no decision at this stage.”

However, he says the party still has full confidence in Mbalula as elections head.

“What we’d advise is that if he’s known that comrade Mbalula reserves his right, both a private citizen and as a South African, to take this finding on review.

“So far, we’re in contact with him, he’s consulting legally, and once he’s done he will pronounce himself what sort of action to do going forward.”

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) and lobby group AfriForum have welcomed the findings against Mbalula, saying a criminal investigation should follow.

The opposition party and AfriForum reported the matter to the Public Protector when Eyewitness News revealed last year that the trip was paid for by a sporting goods supplier.

The DA says it is clear that Mbalula abused his position as Sports Minister to live a flashy lifestyle and it says that he fancied himself a celebrity rather than a minister.

The party welcomed the referral of the matter to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), saying it is crucial that this matter receives priority and the former minister is held accountable for his actions.

AfriForum says private prosecutor Gerrie Nel will be watching these developments closely.

It has warned that if appropriate action is not taken it will be ready to pursue a private prosecution against Mbalukla.

Neither the minister nor Sedgars director Yusuf Dockrat responded to a request for comment.

Both of them denied the veracity of Eyewitness News’s reports last year.

Additional reporting by Barry Bateman.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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