/ 26 December 2017

Police minister wishes a Merry Christmas, allegedly from Dubai

Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula.
Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has wished South Africans a Merry Christmas via a tweet, all the way from the opulent United Arab Emirates city of Dubai, if the location on his Twitter geotag is to be believed.

Twitter users reacted to the apparent location, with most comments leaning towards where the money for trip came from, with specific reference to the relationship between the controversial Gupta family and the emirate. In October News24 revealed that the Gupta family and some of their associates established an extensive network of front companies in and around Dubai that were used to conceal and allegedly launder hundreds of millions of rands in dubious payments linked to government contracts in South Africa.

In that same month, EWN reported that Sedgars Sport, who supplied uniforms for South Africa’s Olympic athletes and officials, had partially paid for Mbalula’s trip to Dubai between December 2016 and January 2017, while he was sports minister.

According to the report, Sedgars Sport paid for at least half of the R680 000 trip.

However, Sedgars denied paying for the trip, and Mbalula denied any wrongdoing, with his spokesperson coming out to say that the minister had financed the trip himself.

“The minister regards the allegations as an orchestrated plan to impugn his integrity and deliberately cause him and his family harm in this regard,” his spokesperson Vuyo Mhaga said at the time. Mhaga could not be immediately reached on Monday night for comment on Mbalula’s current location.

Although the minister has since deleted the tweet and changed his location settings, users are still speculating about his location on Twitter.