Fikile Mbalula On "Dirty Money" Vacation In Dubai
: 2019-08-06 19:52:02

On Tuesday 06 August 2019, AfriForum indicated that it has laid criminal charges against Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula, over his 2017 family trip to Dubai, allegedly paid for by a government supplier of sport products. Charges of money laundering and corruption were laid against Mbalula at Brooklyn Police Station, Pretoria.

AfriForum requested the Public Protector (PP) in 2017 to investigate the trip, who found that Mbalula had violated the Constitution and other legislation in this regard. She further ordered the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to launch an investigation into whether the funds used to pay for the trip had been proceeds from money laundering or not. However, the NPA has yet to take steps against Mbalula, according to AfriForum.

The PP found that Mbalula had visited Dubai without paying for the trip in advance and seemingly had no idea of how much it would cost. She also found that neither Mbalula nor his office had arranged for the trip. Mbalula did not paid for the trip months after returning and when debt collectors came knocking, he contacted his friend Yusuf Dockrat, director of Sedgars Sport, for a loan agreement of R684 000 to help pay for the trip. Among other, Sedgars Sport provided the uniforms worn by Team SA at the Olympic Games. According to the PP it had been “inappropriate” for Mbalula to enter into a loan agreement with Dockrat, because he was a director of an entity conducting business with Sascoc.

The Public Protector investigated the complaint that was lodged by Democratic Alliance Member of Parliament (MP), Tshepo Mhlongo and Taute, on behalf of Afriforum. She found that between December 2016 and January 2017, Mbalula flew to Dubai first-class with his family and stayed at the Palm Beach Hotel, Atlantis on the tab of Sedgars Sport. Mkhwebane said Mbalula, as an MP, did not disclose the sponsorship of this family trip in the Register of Members Interests as is required in law. Although Mbalula claimed to have paid for the trip, Mkhwebane found that he did not pay nor knew how much the trip would cost. The travel agency had repeatedly sent demands to the Minister to settle the bill without success. The agency eventually took payment from Sedgars Sport after sourcing the services of a debt collector. Taute said her organisation was compelled to lay charges after the NPA failed to act when requested to do so.

AfriForum further argues that Mbalula’s conduct also constitutes the crime of corruption as determined in the recent finding by the Supreme Court of Appeal in the State vs Scholtz and Others.

“The NPA’s failure to prosecute Mbalula on the PP’s recommendation compelled AfriForum to lay these charges. The Minister, by all indications, went on a vacation paid for by ‘dirty money’ and he unfairly benefited from his relationship with Sedgars; he must therefore be held accountable. No politician can be seen as above the law and therefore AfriForum’s anti-corruption unit feels that it is in public interest and the interest of justice that the NPA prosecute him without fear, favour or prejudice,” says Monique Taute, Head of AfriForum’s anti-corruption unit.

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Fikile Mbalula
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Monique Taute
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Tshepo Mhlongo
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Public Protector
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Mr And Mrs Mbalula

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