MK Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) national executive committee member Carl Niehaus has demanded a retraction and apology from Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula following tweets in which the minister called Niehaus a “thug”.
The MKMVA on Monday marched to ANC’s headquarters, Luthuli House, calling for Mbalula’s arrest and accusing him of being responsible for Passenger Rail Agency of SA’s (Prasa) “collapse”.
Speaking on the march, MKMVA’s Kebby Maphatsoe told SABC: “What he [Mbalula] did is negligence and he must be held accountable for it. There is no way you can remove security without any contingency plan. As such, infrastructure of government has been destroyed and stolen. We have opened up for criminals and zama zamas to destroy government’s infrastructure and the person responsible for it must be held accountable.”
In a series of tweets, Mbalula defended himself against MKMVA “thugs” Niehaus and Maphatsoe, alleging they were out to get him because he had closed their “milking cow” – Prasa.
He also called Niehaus a thug for faking his mother’s death.
He said in part: “I have great admiration for uMkhonto we Sizwe. What Kebby and Niehaus are doing in its name will come to an end one day, I have less respect for thugs masquerading as MK, period!
“Prasa was your milking cow, I have closed the taps that is my sin you used to do as wish with fake security companies. Karl Niehaus faked the death of his own mother, faked death of his own mother, faked death of his own mother today he is showing up with chicken audacity threatening everyone including the state.
“They organise tired self defence units and they call themselves MK with old Gupta-sponsored camouflage uniform it’s even warn out.
“Kebby Maphatsoe ran away from the camps that is why he’s got one hand. He lost his hand from cowardice not in a fight against apartheid. COWARD. They run amok organising marches threatening the rule of law, suspected criminals Kebby and Karl Niehaus.”
Mbalula further released a statement, saying the security contracts he terminated at Prasa were irregular.
“The Auditor-General confirmed that these were irregular contracts and we had to take decisive steps not only to regularise these, but to bring in a security arrangement that protected the public assets.
“This is a campaign led by people who are determined to use the good name of MK. We are aware that this matter has nothing to do with MK as no legitimate ANC structure will condone a march and heaping of insults against an ANC Minister.
“We will not be cowed by the nefarious agendas that seek to loot state resources and cripple public institutions for narrow self-serving interests,” he said.
In response, Maphatsoe called Mbalula “a factory fault” that somehow made its way into the ANC. In an interview with Newzroom Afrika, Maphatsoe denied allegations he used Prasa as his cash cow, further calling Mbalula “stupid” for comments he made about his arm.
“Mbalula’s tweets about my arm show you how stupid he is. He is deflecting, this is why he is tweeting something that is irrelevant. Mbalula is not responding to what we’re saying that he has been negligent. Mbalula is talking nonsense, there’s nothing he can prove to that extent.
“Mbalula is one of the factory faults that joined the ANC by mistake. You can’t insult people who laid down their lives, some even died and say that they are thugs and tired, indeed they are tired because they have been fighting for a long time while he was still enjoying himself.”
Meanwhile, Niehaus said he would be neglecting his duties if he let Mbalula get away with his tweets.
“The day you are an ANC veteran of 42 years, who served 10 years as a political prisoner for my membership of the ANC & MK you can dare to talk to me in this tone. You’re not worthy to walk in the old shoes of those MK cadres that you insulted.
“You must retract and apologise,” he said.