Faith Mazibuko says sorry after racist comments in leaked recording
In a meeting, the Gauteng sport MEC said a reason other departments did not employ Indian and white people was because they spoke English
Gauteng sports‚ arts‚ culture and recreation MEC Faith Mazibuko has issued a public apology to her head of department and CFO after a leaked audio recording of her lambasting them and using “improper language” went viral.
“I‚ Faith Mazibuko... profusely apologise to the people of Gauteng‚ as a result of the widely circulated audio recording of myself concerning a meeting I held with senior managers‚ on February 15 2019‚” she said in a statement on Thursday.
“After deep personal reflections‚ I want to unreservedly apologise for the tone and improper language I used towards my head of department (HOD) CFO.”
The HOD and CFO had been in a "confidential meeting" with Mazibuko at the time.
The gist of the meeting was around delivering sports facilities known as “combi courts”‚ which Mazibuko wanted done to bolster support for the ANC ahead of the elections on May 8.
As the two tried to explain why it was not be possible to deliver as fast as she wanted‚ Mazibuko lashed out‚ saying a reason why other departments chose not to employ Indian and white people was because they liked to speak English.
“Which other department has an Indian that is a CFO? Which other one? You are the second one … A woman. You must thank your lucky stars! Which other department has an HOD which is a umlungu [white person]? Ayikho [there is none]‚ including national. So you must thank me for empowering you so don't sabotage me … You must never! You better do your work or get out‚” said Mazibuko in the recording.
“That is why some departments they don't want to see a white woman or any Indian woman. Ababafuni [They don't want them]. It's not about racism. It's because you like talking English and we want work thina‚” she said‚ refusing to hear their explanations.
The two people she critised are Indian and white women.
Mazibuko said she had since had a change of heart.
“I'm a firm believer of women empowerment‚ irrespective of race and sexual orientation‚ because women under apartheid suffered what we came to understand as triple oppression.
“I will continue to work hard to build a nonracial and nonsexist society. These are the ideals I will continue to champion and uphold whether in government or elsewhere as an ordinary member of society‚” Mazibuko said.
Her office had earlier responded to the allegations and the emergence of the audio by saying Mazibuko was merely pushing for service-delivery targets to be met.
AmaBhungane had initially reported on the incident and the leaked audio clip.
They reported that Mazibuko was pressuring staff to deliver sports facilities ahead of the elections “with seemingly little regard for tender processes and legal prescripts”.
Her office had earlier rubbished the claims.
“The department would like to state that at no stage in any meeting with her staff did MEC Mazibuko give unlawful instructions‚ except to stress the importance of achieving performance targets of the department and fulfilling promises made to communities as part of service delivery agreements‚” her spokesperson Nomazwe Ntlokwana said on Wednesday evening.
On Thursday, however‚ Mazibuko said she was ready to take whatever punishment came her way.
“I humble myself and apologise to premier [David] Makhura and my colleagues in the provincial cabinet for the harm caused. I am willing to subject myself to whatever appropriate sanction to be imposed on me by premier Makhura and my organisation‚ the ANC.”
The DA in Gauteng has asked the electoral commission to investigate her for possible abuse of public money for party political purposes.