JOHANNESBURG – The African National Congress (ANC) in Gauteng says Sports MEC Faith Mazibuko will be hauled before the party’s integrity commission for her recorded meltdown and threats to her two executive managers.
ANC provincial secretary Jacob Khawe said the governing party leaders met with Mazibuko and were disappointed at her conduct.
”We want to once more apologise to the Indian and white communities and state that the ANC is a non-sexist, non-racial organisation. We will bring MEC Mazibuko before the integrity committee for due processes of the ANC,” said Khawe.
Meanwhile the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation has called Mazibuko’s dismissal, saying it was "deeply perturbed" by the racialised and sexist nature of Mazibuko’s attack on the officials
The Head of Department (HOD) and Chief Financial Officer (CFO), a white woman and Indian woman respectively, were chastised and sworn at by Mazibuko after they told her that community sports facilities, referred to as combi courts, would not be ready ahead of the May 8 general elections.
In the audio recording of the meeting that has since gone viral, Mazibuko is heard telling staffers that she wants the combi courts or their resignation letters. She further tells them they should thank her for their positions in the department since there were no white and Indian top officials in provincial governments.
Despite officials informing Mazibuko that there is no legal mechanism currently in place for the courts to be built within the timeframe, the MEC can be heard threatening them to carry out her instructions, or resign. Mazibuko then goes on a racist and sexist rant and refers to the race and gender of two of the officials, indicating that hiring an Indian and white woman has "backfired" on her.
"That’s why some departments don’t even want to see a white woman or any Indian woman, aba bafuni (they do not want them), it’s not about racism. It’s because you like talking English,” the MEC can be heard saying.
Mazibuko earlier issued an apology to the two women and the general public, saying that after ”deep personal reflections” she unreservedly apologises for the tone and improper language she used towards the officials.
Her department defended her on Thursday, saying that she denies allegations of interference in administrative matters.
However, she has come under fire, with the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation calling on Gauteng Premier David Makhura to consider dismissing her.
The foundation’s executive director Neeshan Balton said that it was "precisely the type of attitude exhibited by Mazibuko that led to the Life Esidimeni tragedy, where public officials were put under pressure by their political heads, resulting in improper and unethical decision making.
"We’ve seen the disastrous consequences of this tragedy, yet it seems that MEC Mazibuko still thinks that it’s okay to bully officials into bypassing proper procedures.
"Similarly, our country’s experience of state capture over the last few years has demonstrated what can go wrong when public servants do not stand up to political pressure, or processes which are unlawful or irregular."
He added that "one of the reasons provided by the MEC to build the combi courts as a matter of urgency, appears to be to gain voter support ahead of the elections. That the MEC, whose duty it is to provide services to the public, appears to want to use this project for party political gains just before the elections is grossly irregular and is possibly a violation of the electoral code of conduct.
"Based on the evidence presented in the clip, we will be formally writing to the Public Service Commission, the South African Human Rights Commission and the Premier, calling on them to act on this matter," he added. "Mazibuko’s half hearted apology for her ‘tone’ will do little to allay public concerns that she had placed undue pressure on her officials."
Balton also stated that he was "deeply perturbed” by the racialised and sexist nature of Mazibuko’s attack on the officials. "There was absolutely no reason to raise the fact that the officials in question are both women, that one is white and the other Indian, and that they speak English. By insinuating that white and Indian female officials are ‘sticklers’ for procedure, is Mazibuko suggesting that African or coloured officials are simply willing to bypass the law to get things done?"
He added: "Over and above all this, is simply the rude and arrogant manner in which Mazibuko feels entitled to speak to her staff. That she gets ‘irritated’ when officials try to tell her about procedure, and that she refuses to allow them to express their concerns, is very telling about her management style. I don’t think we need leaders who pose as servants of the people, but in reality have little respect for the individuals who work with them in trying to carry out this mandate."
African News Agency (ANA)