Molefe Seeletsa

By Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist

Mbalula calls AfriForum ‘overenthusiastic braggarts’ after private prosecution for Dubai trip

The NPA declined to prosecute the ANC secretary-general in 2023.

African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Fikile Mbalula has maintained his innocence following AfriForum’s decision to initiate a private prosecution against him regarding his controversial Dubai trip.

Mbalula, who served as the Minister of Sports, Arts, and Culture at the time, took his family on a holiday to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) city in 2016.

It was later revealed that the trip, which cost a total of R680 000, was allegedly funded by Sedgars Sports, a company that did business with the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc).

Sascoc operates under the jurisdiction of the Department of Sports and Recreation.

Public protector report

The scandal was investigated by the Office of the Public Protector in 2018.

The resulting report concluded that Mbalula violated the Executive Ethics Act, as he failed to disclose who paid for the trip, which is required by law.

Former public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane referred the matter to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to investigate whether the funds used for the trip were not the proceeds of crime.

ALSO READ: Mbalula ‘politically shielded’ from Dubai trip prosecution – AfriForum

However, in August 2023, the NPA declined to prosecute Mbalula, stating that their investigation found no evidence of criminality.

AfriForum has since decided to challenge the NPA’s decision by pursuing a private prosecution.

Mbalula previously claimed the money he received from Sedgars Sports, which paid at least R300 000, was a loan.

Mbalula slams AfriForum

Speaking during an ANC media briefing on Thursday, Mbalula criticised AfriForum for digging up his past.

“There is no scandal, it has been proven. That matter has been subjected to an investigation and there was a public pronouncement on it.

“Now if some overenthusiastic braggarts think they can get something out of it then let them proceed with it,” he told journalists.

The ANC secretary-general accused AfriForum of trying to use a “kangaroo court” to prosecute him.

READ MORE: NPA decision not prosecute Mbalula ‘irrational and wrong in law’ – AfriForum

“We have got rights in terms of the law and AfriForum must know that. We are not scared of them and if they stand for something good, let them stand for it, but we have got rights.

“Nobody can stand at a podium and say the [secretary-general] of the ANC has done something wrong.

“There’s no court that has adjudicated and passed judgment on it. All processes have actually been informed. I have never run away from anything,” Mbalula continued.

He insinuated that AfriForum was making statements without having “any glimpse of evidence”.

Watch the briefing below:

Mbalula later berated the journalist who asked him about AfriForum.

“You came only here for that question. You are just derailing me from a very important press conference about the ANC.

“You should have called and then on the side ask me about it because it’s a personal matter,” the ANC secretary-general said.

He added: “They are just making allegations based on something that they got. There’s no law in this country that said I have got a scandal and have accounted fully to the public protector. After that [the public protector] subjected me to law enforcement.”

NPA decision ‘irrational’

In a statement on Wednesday, AfriForum claimed its private prosecution unit had obtained the police docket related to the Dubai trip following a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application.

The lobby group indicated that it was convinced that Mbalula has a case answer to.

“After a cursory inspection of the evidence, it is abundantly clear that the decision not to prosecute Mbalula was irrational.

“The evidence suggests collusion between witnesses and Saps; a failure to obtain statements from important witnesses and possible suspects; a failure to obtain valuable records and data; and poor co-operation between Saps and prosecutors,” AfriForum’s Barry Bateman said.

Bateman alleged that Mbalula was protected by the police and the NPA.

“This has only strengthened the unit’s resolve to ensure Mbalula has his day in court,” he added.

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