Pule protestations of victimhood don't wash
Minister of Communications, Dina Pule, must desist from trying to create the impression that she is a victim of blackmailers who are concocting allegations of misconduct and corruption against her and her romantic partner Phosane Mngqibisa.
The Minister held an extraordinary press conference in Johannesburg today - ahead of her hearing next week before Parliament's Ethics and Members' Interest Committee - in which she bemoaned the fact that ‘damaging' media reports during the past 10 months are part of a ‘sophisticated plot' to blackmail her.
If this is so, why has the minister not asked the police to root out these ‘blackmailers'?
She has indicated she would report the Sunday Times to the Press Ombudsman. However, Mr Mngqibisa had already reported the Sunday Times to the Press Ombudsman last year - which has led the revelations about the relationship and its suspect motives. The ombudsman ruled on December 10, 2012 that the Sunday Times was justified in its reporting of Ms Pule and Mr Mngqibisa's relationship and dismissed his complaint.
I suspect the Minister is trying to whip up public sympathy ahead of next week's hearing which will thoroughly examine her relationship with Mr Mngqibisa and his involvement in last year's ICT Indaba, which was hosted by the Department of Communications.
She tried a similar tactic before the ANC's elective conference at Mangaung last December when a dubious report by ‘forensic auditors' Pedlar, Compion, Henderson and Associations ‘cleared' the minister of wrongdoing over her department's spending of R10 million on the ICT Indaba. This amount was never the subject of the allegations against the Minister or her partner.
If last year's shabby attempt at ‘clearing' the Minister was meant to boost her chances at Mangaung, it backfired and she was not re-elected to the ANC's National Executive Committee (NEC).
Minister Pule must sit tight and await the outcomes of Parliament's ethics and members' interest committee and the imminent release of the Public Protector's report on the issue, both of which have voluminous evidence and counter claims to study.
Minister Pule's pathetic shots across their bows to appeal for public sympathy are unlikely to sway their considered findings.
Statement issued by Marian Shinn MP, DA Shadow Minister of Communications, April 22 2013
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