It is said, with some accuracy, that Twitter is the place you find twits.
And, in the case of our “fastest-finger-first”, tweet-first-think-last minister of transport, Fikile Mbalula, the assessment is accurate.
So, it would be easy to dismiss as yet another Mbaks rave his quickfire series of tweets yesterday attacking Carl Niehaus and Kebby Maphatsoe of the MK Military Veterans Association (MKMVA). Mbalula had been irked by a campaign by the MKMVA to have him, as transport minister, arrested because he is supposedly responsible for the collapse of SA’s rail infrastructure.
But as his temper got the better of him, Mbaks also had a dig at ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, saying he was the one who employed the “thug” Niehaus at Luthuli House. Yet, it is much more than a childish minister with a cellphone venting on a social media platform.
The confrontation between him and Niehaus and Maphatsoe showed up clearly the widening fault lines in the ANC. Niehaus and Maphatsoe are allies of former President Jacob Zuma and Mbalula called them both “suspected criminals”, leaving no doubt that his loyalty lies with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s faction in the ANC.
To underline that point, Mbalula tweeted: “Your efforts to bring the ANC down failed, we are 57% in power” – a direct reference to the Zuma faction being ousted at the organisation’s Nasrec conference in December 2017. Mbalula has always been one of the ANC’s biggest “flip-flop” leaders, jumping from faction to faction as he perceived the winds of fortune were changing.
From being an ardent Zuma-ite, Mbalula suddenly switched allegiance to Ramaphosa at Nasrec. His latest all-out assault against the Zuma faction, including Magashule, indicates that, consummate political scavenger that he is, Mbalula may smell blood in the water … and it could be that of Magashule.
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