Mbalula ‘learns with surprise’ of being implicated at Zondo commission

Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula.

The transport minister says he has not been notified of the ‘worrisome development’ through the proper legal channels.

Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula has responded with surprise that he will reportedly be implicated at the Zondo commission looking into state capture.

Former Prasa interim board chairperson Khanyisile Kweyama is expected to appear before the commission soon, whose evidence, Mbalula said in a statement on Thursday, “will implicate me.”

Mbalula said he only became aware that a witness before the commission wished to implicate him when this was publicised in media reports.

He claimed he had not received any communication from the commission, which is an alleged contravention of rule 3.3 of the commission.

“If the Commission’s Legal Team intends to present to the Commission a witness, whose evidence implicates or may implicate another person, it must, through the Secretary of the Commission, notify that person in writing within a reasonable time before the witness gives evidence,” reads the rule.

Mbalula said he was willing to support the commission’s work, but needed adequate warning, as was his right.

The state capture commission heard on Wednesday that Mbalula unlawfully dissolved the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) board.

Kweyama was expected to tell the commission that Mbalula wanted to appoint current Prasa administrator Bongisizwe Mpondo without following proper procedures.

The former board resisted, which led to Mbabula disbanding it in December.

The minister said his lawyers had written to the commission to address “this worrisome development” of his name coming up. He added that the appointment of the administrator was already before the courts and would be heard in the Western Cape High Court “in the coming week”.

Mbalula already appeared before the commission in March last year, to give evidence about the alleged meddling of the Gupta family in the appointment of ministers.

Mbalula has claimed the Guptas allegedly knew about his appointment as sports minister before he did, drawing into question how they may have attempted to illegally control the functioning of the state through then president Jacob Zuma.

(Compiled by Charles Cilliers and Nica Richards)

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