Johannesburg – The ANC’s head of elections Fikile Mbalula says he is “considering” whether to legally challenge Public Protector report on his family trip to Dubai.
This is after the Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s investigation into Mbalula’s Dubai vacation in 2016 found that Mbalula violated the constitution. Mkhwebane further said it was inappropriate for the former minister of sports to have entered into a “loan agreement” with Yusuf Dockrat, director at Sedgars which supplies sports apparel to the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee.
“I did not breach any provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, the Executive Members Ethics Code Act, and the Executive Ethics Code,” said Mbalula in a statement on Friday.
Mbalula took the trip to Dubai between December 2016, and January 2017. The trip cost R684 620.39.
Mkhwebane said she could not find any evidence that the trip was arranged by Mbalula’s office or his family, but that the bookings were made by a “Mr Siweya” on behalf of Mbalula with Munlin Travel – a travel agency.
“The conclusions of the Public Protector to the contrary are, with respect, unsubstantiated and prejudicial.
The former minister insisted that he paid for the trip through a personal loan from a “friend of 20 years” Yusuf Dockrat, who is a director at Sedgars. He claims he paid back the loan in full with interest.
“The short-term loan is confirmed by my myself and Mr Yusuf Dockrat. I do not understand the basis on which my evidence was rejected. Although the Public Protector concluded that I violated the Executive Ethics Code, the (code) does not require the disclosure of short-term loans,” said Mbalula.
He said when he planned the holiday he had hoped to receive funds, but could not do so he made arrangements with Munlin Travel to pay for the trip when he returned from the holiday.
“Mr Dockrat decided to make the loan to me through Reimon Uniforms. This was a decision he made in his own discretion. The loan was concluded with him in his personal capacity. Sedgers Sport did not give the loan, nor did it pay for my family vacation, in any way.
Mbaula also denied possible conflict of interest with Sedgars being a supplier to Sascoc. He said Sascoc is an independent body and the ministry of sports has no control over its management.
“The Ministry has no control or influence over its decision-making process, and it certainly has no control or influence in its decisions in relation to procurement.
“In these circumstances, respectfully, I consider it regrettable that the Public Protector has chosen to make the adverse findings against me that she has done. It has now become necessary for me to consider challenging the findings in a court of law. I am presently consulting with my attorneys in this regard. In the meantime, all of my rights remain fully and strictly reserved.”