Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula’s apology to Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma was not of his own volition
Johannesburg – Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula’s apology to Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma was not of his own volition – he was advised by his own faction within the ANC to retract and apologise.
This was the view of political analyst Ralph Mathekga moments after Mbalula penned a formal apology to Dlamini Zuma over his unsavoury tweet about her ANC presidential campaign in 2017.
In his tweet, on Monday, Mbalula reacted to an earlier tweet of the Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu about a dinner hosted by former ANC president Jacob Zuma ahead of the ANC elective conference in December 2017.
Sisulu had posted a picture of all candidates who were vying for the ANC presidency which included her, Jeff Radebe, Dlamini Zuma and President Cyril Ramaphosa among others.
In her tweet, which elicited Mbalula’s reaction, Sisulu said: “Oh what a night! Dinner of the presidential hopefuls in 2017.
“It was a good meeting and a wonderful time for all.# throwback.”
This prompted Mbalula to take to twitter on Monday and insinuated that Zuma had wanted to create a family dynasty of some sort within the ANC through the failed election of Dlamini Zuma as party president.
Commenting on the apology, Mathekga said Mbalula was advised by his fellow members that the attack on Dlamini Zuma was not giving any service or advantage to his party’s faction despite the raging factional battles within their party.
“They told him look you’re ruffling feathers here.
“Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is one politician who carries herself with dignity in public.
“To attack her is to expose his desperation.
“She will never clap back.
“I don’t think anyone takes Fikile Mbalula seriously.
“He is unreliable.
“He does not think before he speaks,” Mathekga said.
Mathekga described Mbalula as an extreme person saying no one would believe that he was, at some stage, one of the biggest supporters of (Jacob) Zuma.
“He just moves from one extreme to another.
“If he loves you, he wants everybody to know about it.
“He behaves the same when he hates you,” Mathekga said
Yesterday, Mbalula when faced with a backlash on that same platform chose to apologise for his perceived references to Dlamini Zuma.
In his retraction, he said: “On March 8 2021, a tweet on my timeline making reference to Cde Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, on a comment about a dinner hosted by former president Zuma with candidates who were contesting the ANC presidency, appears to have been construed as an attack on Cde Dlamini Zuma.
“It is regretful and unfortunate that my comment may have come across as an attack on the person and integrity of Cde Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, as this was never the intention.
“I therefore unreservedly apologise to Cde Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and wish to assure her that I will keep her name out of any political battles and commentary,” Mbalula said.
The apology came as the ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte had already indicated to Independent Media that her party was likely to bring disciplinary charges against Mbalula for breach of organisational media policy.
However, Mbalula was unrepentant on his allegation that the incumbent Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane was a “hired gun” despite criminal charges of crimen injuria and contempt for the office of the PP were laid against him on Wednesday.
Reacting to the charges, Mbalula said: “I wish to reiterate that I stand by my views that she has conducted herself as a hired gun, more interested in pursuing partisan political agendas rather than uphold the stature of the office of the public protector, with the responsibility to place the interests of the citizens first.
“I therefore remain ready to meet her in court to defend my statement,” Mbalula vowed.
Mathekga, however, said it was not worthy for Mkhwebane to take legal action against Mbalula.