EXPOSED: Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said yesterday he was a victim of a political trap using state security agencies to discredit him. Pictures: THEMBA MASEKO
Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula believes he is the victim of a honey trap set for him by rogue elements in South Africa’s intelligence agencies.
This comes in the wake of claims last weekend by a young North West woman that she fell pregnant when she and Mbalula had unprotected sex after meeting at a party.
And, the woman was paid R150000 to rubbish his name by National Intelligence operatives meddling in ANC’s squabbles in the run-up to next year’s elective conference in Mangaung, Mbalula told The New Age in an interview yesterday.
The atmosphere within the ANC had become “polluted” and state security agencies were being used to spy on the party’s leaders, including those in government.
“State institutions must not be used to fight political wars. It must stop now,” he said.
Mbalula described “the political environment” within the ANC as “really a poisoned one”, adding that the reports about himself and the woman were part of a broader political plot using state security agencies to discredit him.
Mbalula denied that the sex with the woman had been unprotected and claimed that he had used a condom, but it had burst.
Clearly rattled at the sex scandal that has erupted around him after the revelations, Mbalula said: “This woman is not pregnant at all. She is a serial extortionist.”
Mbalula, a former ANCYL leader and prominent supporter of league president Julius Malema, conceded that he was largely responsible for the scandal and “I need to relook at my ways”.
While Mbalula’s claims of intelligence interference are unproven, they are an indication of the fierce war being waged by factions within the ANC for control of the party. They are similar to the mud-slinging and back-stabbing that characterised the build up to the 2007 conference in Polokwane, when Thabo Mbeki was ousted by Jacob Zuma. In the run up to that conference, Mbalula – then ANCYL president – was instrumental in getting Zuma elected as the party’s leader.
But soon after Polokwane, cracks began opening in the Zuma alliance after the ANCYL made it clear that they wanted Mbalula to replace ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe.
The league’s increasing unhappiness with Zuma’s leadership has also seen it campaigning to remove Zuma and replace him with his deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe.
And this is what Mbalula and his supporters believe has made him a target.
“My message is that if you live a political life and start to play the game of dirty tricks, you will not survive,” he said yesterday in reference to his detractors.