Protector slams Mbalula over funds for Dubai trip

Fikile Mbalula.
Fikile Mbalula.
Image: Esa Alexander/The Times

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has found that former minister Fikile Mbalula violated the Executive Members Act and the constitution by asking a Sascoc sporting goods supplier to help him pay for his 2016 family holiday to Dubai.

She found on Wednesday that Mbalula had gone to Dubai without first paying for the trip‚ and seemingly had no idea how much it would cost.

She said this was “very irresponsible of him as he could not determine whether he could afford the excursion”.

Mbalula said he had later obtained a loan from Sedgars Sports to help him pay for the trip‚ which cost over R684‚000.

“There is, however, no evidence in my possession that proves that Mr Mbalula requested and/or obtained the loan prior to boarding a flight to Dubai.”

She said that it had been inappropriate for Mbalula to enter into a “loan agreement” with Yusuf Dockrat‚ “a director of an entity doing business with Sascoc”.

Dockrat then paid R300‚000 to Munlin Travel on Mbalula’s behalf.

Mkhwebane said there was evidence that Mbalula paid R275‚000 into the account of the company that had paid his travel expenses.

She said she did not recommend any remedial action against Mbalula “as he is no longer a member of the executive” – but ordered the National Prosecuting Authority to investigate “whether the funds used to pay Mr Mbalula’s trip were not the proceeds of money-laundering”.

The public protector’s investigation followed reports by Eyewitness News in 2017 that Sedgars Sport contributed at least R300‚000 towards the trip while Mbalula was minister.

Mbalula had reportedly denied any wrongdoing‚ and insisted that he had funded the holiday himself.

Sedgars also denied wrongdoing.- TimesLIVE