Fickle Mbalula rages over New Age spy allegation
Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula has denied accusing state security operatives of paying a woman R150 000 to “rubbish his name” by having sex with him.
“At no given stage in my interview I referred to state security with regard to these particular issues,” he told the SABC.
Mbalula’s comments come after a the New Age newspaper report on an interview with the minister.
It reported him as saying the woman was paid by operatives who were meddling in ANC squabbles in the run-up to next year’s elective conference.
The New Age would not be drawn on Tuesday about the authencity of its report on the Mbalula interview.
“Read the paper tomorrow,” said politics editor Thokozani Mtshali.
He said Mbalula had written to the newspaper and his letter would be published in the paper on Wednesday.
Mbalula also expressed regret at ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu commenting on his reported remarks without consulting him first.
“I wish to state clearly that ... before people could have made statements about this particular matter, I know very well the question of abuse of state machinery,” he said.
“I would have gone an appropriate route.”
ANC spokesperson Mthembu earlier reacted to Mbalula’s reported remarks by saying it was inapproriate to link sex scandals to the party’s elective conference in Mangaung next year.
“To link issues of sex with Mangaung is not appropriate,” said Mthembu.
“The ANC is not aware of the allegations and he [Mbalula] has not addressed the issue with us. He is a former deputy police minister he knows what he must do.”
The New Age said Mbalula, a former ANC Youth League president, was the league’s first choice to replace current ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe at the conference.
The league was also said to be backing Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to succeed President Jacob Zuma.
Mbalula reportedly told the New Age that the atmosphere in the ANC was “polluted”.
“State institutions must not be used to fight political wars. It must stop now,” he was quoted as saying.
The State Security Agency (SSA) said it was unaware of the claim that Mbalula’s short extramarital affair was actually a politically motivated trap set by them.
“We are not aware of the claims being made and we urge people who have legitimate complaints to approach the Office of the Inspector General of Intelligence and lay a formal complaint,” SSA spokesperson Brian Dube said in a statement.
The SSA said it was worried by the tendency of politicians to make “broad and unsubstantiated claims” that reflected negatively on the integrity of the agency.
“The minister of state security is on record appealing to politicians to stop politicising the work of the agency,” said Dube.—Sapa
A previous version of this article had an incorrect headline: “Fickle Mbalula rages over New Age spy lie.” We apologise for the error and have made a note of the correction on our corrections page .