MEC Faith Mazibuko Issues Official Apology Over Staff Rant

Gauteng MEC for Sport and Recreation Faith Mazibuko.
Gauteng MEC for Sport and Recreation Faith Mazibuko.

Gauteng MEC for sport and recreation Faith Mazibuko has apologised to her subordinates for her behaviour after the leaking of audio clips in which she allegedly tried to force her staff to disregard procurement processes in the construction of sports facilities in order to help the ANC win elections.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Mazibuko denied that her instructions to senior managers in the department were illegal.

“I wish to reiterate that at no stage did I give unlawful instructions to senior managers in the department except to stress the importance of achieving performance targets of the department and fulfilling promises made to communities as part of service delivery agreements and that this should be carried out within the prescripts of the law,” she said.

Her statement comes after amaBhungane published parts of the leaked audio clip of a meeting between Mazibuko and senior managers which took place on February 15. In the recordings, Mazibuko is heard shouting in isiZulu and English at a group of employees in a meeting about the building of sports facilities on which a combination of sports can be played.

“You better do it. I want those, no rollover of that money for combi-courts. You two! How you do it, even if you go fly a magic, you better do it. Those combi-courts, I want to use (them) to campaign to win the elections. I don’t want to hear stories, Monica. I want combi-courts and no stories.

“If you want to give me stories, then give me your resignation letters. I will fire you, you people who are not prepared to spend my money (sic),” Mazibuko is heard saying. 

One of the employees tries to respond to the MEC who becomes more agitated. 

“It doesn’t matter. Don’t tell me (in) English. I want combi-courts. Ngithi (I’m saying), or bring your resignation letters. That’s all I want. We empower you, you are not empowered. Which department has an Indian that is a CFO, and an HOD who is a mlungu (white)? Ayikho (There isn’t one) including national (departments). You must thank me for empowering you. So don’t sabotage me, you better do your work or get out (sic).”

“MEC we are doing our jobs,” replies an employee.

Mazibuko continues with her rant: “That’s why some departments don’t want to see a white woman or an Indian woman. Ababafuni (They don’t want them). It is not racism, it’s because you like talking English (sic).”

‘Unreserved’ apology

When one of the employees tries to interject, Mazibuko shouts in isiZulu that they must keep quiet and not disrupt her. 

“No other departments, you two are the lucky ones, you must thank me. I said keep quiet, keep quiet. I don’t want to hear anything. You better sort out those combi-courts (sic).” 

“We are working to achieve that MEC,” says an employee. In Thursday’s statement Mazibuko said she was apologising to the people of Gauteng.

“In a meeting held with the executive managers on February 15 in the department of sport, arts, culture and recreation, I raised concerns about lack of implementation of key priority community projects. An audio recording of the discussions of the meeting was leaked to the media.

“In a statement I previously issued on the matter I avoided speaking about the contents of the meeting out of respect for confidentiality. The audio recording of the meeting has been widely publicised. Out of frustration for lack of delivery, I became emotional and used inappropriate tone and language to show my frustration at lack of delivery.

“I wish to unreservedly apologise to all senior managers who were in the meeting, all staff members in the department, the premier and the people of Gauteng for the tone that I used and my general conduct in the meeting.”