DA calls for Mabuza commission of inquiry

2012-03-15 06:52

Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza should appoint a commission of inquiry to clear his name following a journalist’s claim that he was promised payment to discredit his challengers, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said.

Provincial DA leader Anthony Benadie said that the only way for the truth to be heard would be when all parties concerned stood before a commission and stated their version of events under oath.

City Press reported two weeks ago that Mbekezeli Mbuli, a journalist for Caxton-owned newspaper Mpumalanga News, said that he was promised a job in the Mbombela municipality and a BMW to write a series of negative stories about Mabuza’s challenger for the position of ANC provincial chairperson.

The stories targeted health MEC Clifford Mkasi who is supported by the ANC Youth League to succeed Mabuza when the ANC’s provincial conference is held on April 5.

In one of the stories, Mbuli quoted a fictitious Professor Robert MacMillan saying that Mkasi could be an academic but not a politician like Mabuza. The “professor” called on Mkasi to go back to his profession as a doctor and “leave politics to politicians”.

In another article, Mbuli wrote the SACP opposed the ANCYL over Mabuza’s second term while he had not spoken to any of its leaders. The SACP had in fact been calling for Mabuza to step down after accusing him of failing to curb corruption and dividing the ANC.

The journalist claimed he had received some of the articles “already crafted” from former provincial ANCYL secretary Musa Mkhatshwa, a Mabuza ally.

“Based on the allegations around the ‘Mbuligate’ saga, the DA is convinced that premier Mabuza is either directly or indirectly involved, especially since he has made his wishes for re-election clear, and stands to benefit most when his opponents are discredited,” Benadie said.

“If premier Mabuza is innocent, he must, in the interests of the people of Mpumalanga appoint a commission of inquiry, and clear the names of both himself and of his government. The DA believes that the only way the truth will be heard, is when all parties concerned stand before the commission and state publicly, and under oath, their version of events,” he added.

Benadie added that it was ironic that the ANC accused the media of unethical journalism in its defence of the Protection of State Information Bill while it used the media in an unethical way to promote its own interest.

“It is therefore in the interests of the entire media industry that the full truth behind ‘Mbuligate’ be revealed, before giving proponents of the Bill added reason for its implementation,” he said.

Mpumalanga News has barred Mbuli from reporting politics and published an apology to Mkasi and the SACP in the Mpumalanga News and its sister newspaper, Lowvelder.

Mpumalanga government spokesperson Lebona Mosia said he would have to consult as the matter impugned on Mabuza’s integrity as a person.

“It’s not something political or government-related but impugning on his integrity as a person. I can’t comment on it and will have to consult him first,” Mosia said.

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