Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has defended his R680,000 Dubai trip with his family which has driven much Public criticism
Mbalula who seemed to be doing quite well in his new position as Police Minister claimed that the issue about his Dubai trip with his family is a Private matter and therefore, should be treated as one.
He also rejected claims of a conflict of interests because of the company, Sedgars Sports, is a South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) and Team SA clothing supplier.
This comes amid DA’s call for an urgent investigation into the minister’s family holiday to Dubai.
“It’s concerning because the money was paid. There’s very likely a conflict of interest with the Minister of Sport receiving a gift of this nature from a company that was doing business with Sascoc, which is accountable to the minister,” DA chief whip John Steenhuisen earlier said.
It is understood that a company called Reimon Uniforms – which linked to Sedgars Sport – paid R300,000 to a travel agent to pay for Mbalula’s Dubai trip while the remainder of the R680,000 expense was paid for in cash by a Sedgars employee.
Reacting to this, Mbalula who was formally Sports Minister declined to answer any specific questions, saying it is a private matter and none of the media’s business.
The minister had earlier refused to give a straight answer on the matter. Instead, he protested that his privacy was being invaded.
Mbalula neither confirmed nor denied Sedgars paid for the Dubai trip but said there was nothing inappropriate about the vacation and who paid for it. He reiterated that it was private.
While reiterating that it was a private matter, Minister Fikile Mbalula told news reporters that reserves the right to protect his family’s privacy from what he described as “journalistic gymnastics”.
Sedgars’ director Yusuf Dockrat denied paying for the holiday and refused to answer further questions when evidence showing a link to Sedgars was put to him.
Fikile was one of the ministers newly appointed by President Jacob Zuma during his much-criticized cabinet reshuffle which saw the removal of Zuma’s critics in the cabinet including Pravin Gordhan.
Apart from Gordhan, Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom, who last year supported a move for a motion of no confidence in Zuma at the ANC NEC, was axed from Cabinet. Hanekom said he only found out he had been sacked from media reports and that no reason had been advanced.