Gauteng sports department denies MEC interference following leaked recording

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JOHANNESBURG, March 14 – The Department of Sports, Arts and Culture in Gauteng has come out in defence of MEC Faith Mazibuko after a voice recording, in which she is heard ranting about service delivery ahead of May general elections, was leaked to media.

”The department would like to state, that at no stage in any meeting with her staff did MEC Mazibuko give unlawful instructions except to stress the importance of achieving performance targets of the department and fulfilling promises made to communities as part of service delivery agreements,” the department said in a statement.

”The MEC has always believed and maintained that the implementation of projects should be done expeditiously within the prescripts of the law. The MEC categorically denies all allegations of interference in administrative matters.”

The department did not deny that it was Mazibuko’s voice that can be heard in the recording.

The Mail & Guardian’s amaBhungane unit on Wednesday published the voice recording of Mazibuko in a meeting with executive staff members of her department. Mazibuko is heard shouting at the managers to make sure sports facilities, referred to as combi courts, are constructed at specified communities as soon as possible, ignoring legal and tender processes. Two women in the meeting are heard pleading with Mazibuko that the sports facilities would be constructed as long as all was done according to the law.

A furious Mazibuko was having none of it, shouting to the two managers to deliver the sport facilities or tender their resignations.

The MEC ranted on, refusing to hear the two women’s explanation that there was no contract in place to roll out the facilities.

”I want those combi courts, we want to use them to campaign to win elections. You two… I want those combi courts. However you do it… even if you go construct it yourself or perform some magic… you better do it. There will be no roll over of funds…it will work in this current financial year. We can’t be telling communities we will build combi courts and not deliver. I do not want to hear stories…I want those five combi courts rolled out,” Mazibuko shouted.

She told the meeting she does not want to be ”made looking bad out there” and wanted the facilities completed before elections. She told one white and two Indian managers that it seemed her efforts to empower women by appointing them was backfiring on her.

”It is clear you do not are not ready to work in this environment. You better do your work or get out…which other department has a white woman [Monica Newton] as a head of department? None, except a national [government]. That is why some departments do not want an Indian or white woman..aba bafuni [ they do not want them] and it’s not about racism. This women empowerment… I took it too far and now it is backfiring on me… go do your work. You two are the lucky ones, you must thank me.”