‘Mbalula didn’t say R20 000 was nothing’

2010-10-11 15:05

Former ANC Youth League president Fikile Mbalula’s description of a R20 000 donation as “small change” was “misinterpreted”, the league has said.

“In pledging the money, former president [Mbalula] said the money they are pledging is relatively not enough for the cause to fund the education of poor children,” said ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu in a statement.

“This was then misinterpreted by some as meaning that R20 000 is nothing, and altogether missing the point of what was said. If R20 000 was nothing, the leadership could have not donated such amount.”

This was after Mbalula and ANCYL president Julius Malema donated R20 000 each to musician Chomee’s education trust fund.

The Sowetan reported that Mbalula, the deputy minister of police, described the money as “nothing but small change”.

The Weekend Argus reported that this comment was criticised by Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi who said money had to be made honestly and people had to be encouraged to live within their means.

Referring to the Sowetan report, Vavi said he could not vouch for the accuracy of the report, but if it were true, it was insulting to average South Africans.

He reportedly wanted to know what this sort of comment meant to workers who toiled to earn far less.

“What you are saying is that there is a shorter way to making money: fighting factional battles in the ANC,” Vavi reportedly said.

Shivambu said “opportunists” were portraying Mbalula as “insensitive” and “only concerned with the pursuit of money”.

“This notion should be dismissed with contempt because those who recurrently lose debates and electoral politics in the ANC resort to labelling and spread... crazy allegations that those whose ideas are dominant use money to influence the ANC.

“Opportunists should never blame their intellectual laziness to allegations of inappropriate money exchanges, they should instead change their attitude and understand the ANC better in order to influence its direction,” he said.

Mbalula reportedly described Vavi’s comments as “opportunistic and politically mischievous”.

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