Mbalula too focused on being a 'celebrity minister of Twitter' - aggrieved transport dept staffers

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Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula. Photo: GCIS
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula. Photo: GCIS
  • A group of ANC members working at the transport department have written to the president about alleged irregularities involving Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula.
  • According to the group, Mbalula's spokesperson Ayanda-Allie Paine has no experience in government.
  • The group also claims some staffers are involved in Covid-19 tenders.

In a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa, a group of "ANC comrades" in the transport department have lashed out against Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula.

They have labelled Mbalula a "celebrity minister of Twitter". 

The letter, which centred around several alleged irregularities in the department, follows Ramaphosa's open letter to ANC members in which he said the ANC stands as accused number one when it comes to corruption in the country.

The group's letter is addressed to, among others, National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise, chairperson of Parliament's transport committee Mosebenzi Zwane, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, Auditor-General Kimi Makwethu and South Africans "that still care about the country and its future".

"We must state from the onset that, despite all the issues we would mention about their actions and behaviour, the central question still remains…why did the president deploy Fikile to such an important and strategic department?

"What criteria did the president use? Why did the president appoint known friends and buddies of Fikile and Alec Moemi as DG to lead the transport sector?

"Didn't the president foresee that corruption, nepotism, cronyism and kleptocracy were going to be the order of the day," the group asked.

Mbalula's spokesperson Ayanda-Allie Paine said: "We welcome this move by the faceless individuals behind this letter. We believe the fair processes espoused by these agencies and the laws of our Republic will vindicate us and attest to the robustness of our processes.

"Meanwhile, our resolve to reposition this department and locate it among the best performing departments, with clean audit outcomes, remains undeterred."

READ | Mbalula and Black Business Council start talks for formal taxi industry

The group said Mbalula's political advisor, Lawrence Venkile, presents himself as the "alpha and omega" of the transport sector.

"Why must everything that needs to be presented to Fikile go to Venkile? Venkile has usurped the powers of the deputy minister, the DG, chief of staff and has made himself a de facto minister.

"Fikile is very busy, blind to see this because of his focus to be a celebrity minister of Twitter and social media," they said.

On Mbalula's spokesperson, Paine, the group said she has no experience in government and called on the Department of Public Service and Administration to assess her competencies.

"We are now convinced that the appointment of this person had everything to do with the profile of Cde Fikile remaining a celebrity minister by having someone who comes from the media fraternity.

"This poor lady knows nothing. She does not know what a BGM is, does not have professional writing skills and, in fact, most of the media statements were written for her by the [departmental] communications team and credited under her name," the group's letter read.

READ ALSO | Covid-19 PPE money stolen from the state will be recovered - Jackson Mthembu

On Covid-19 personal protective equipment (PPE), the group claimed two staffers were involved in tender corruption.

"We have voice notes, videos and pictures of everything that was done. Companies that were linked to the DG and minister were appointed to be suppliers of PPE.

"We have a list of them and especially those that inflated prices. We also have evidence that shows the money exchange between the DG and unnamed people in our [building basement] parking lot, Irene Mall and Kempton Park.

"We took this route of following the patterns of the DG because we are quite astounded by the dictatorship and resolve to implement anything at all costs," the letter read.

Presidency spokesperson Tyrone Seale is yet to respond to News24's request for comment.

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