Mbalula responds to Zuma’s Rupert story: Wait ’til I write my book

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula. File photo: ANA

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula. File photo: ANA

The minister could not be convinced to comment on whether or not allegations about businessman Johann Rupert were true.

Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula has not explicitly confirmed or denied former president Jacob Zuma’s story told during his testimony at the commission of inquiry into state capture on Monday, alleging that billionaire businessman Johann Rupert warned Mbalula that if Zuma removed then finance minister Pravin Gordhan from his position he and others “would shut down the economy” and interfere with the rand.

Asked by journalist Karyn Maughan for comment on this, Mbalula said he had no duty to do so.

“Why should I comment? Did anyone comment on my evidence at the commission?” he replied.

READ MORE: Zuma tells Zondo Ramathlodi is a spy

Later, Mbalula tweeted a tongue-in-cheek response to a Twitter user who mentioned that “someone” – that someone being Zuma – was talking about him in front of deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo.

“[I] am important chief,” he said.

“Wait ’til i write my book, I’ll tell it all.”

Rupert, meanwhile, responded to The Citizen’s requests for comment on Twitter with a single word – “mythomaniac“, another term for a pathological liar.

Zuma said Rupert’s alleged threats were heard when Mbalula, who was the minister of sport at the time, attended an event at one of Rupert’s farms.

The former president claimed that Mbalula, who served in the sports portfolio at the time, said that at this event he had been told by Rupert that Zuma was informed that if Gordhan was removed, Rupert and others “would shut down the economy” and interfere with the rand.

“Indeed they did interfere with the rand,” Zuma said, adding that one person this year admitted to this.

(Background reporting, Makhosandile Zulu)

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