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Fikile Mbalula. Picture: Supplied
Fikile Mbalula. Picture: Supplied

It takes a considerable amount of delusion to write the type of diatribe that Fikile Mbalula, a cabinet minister presiding over one of SA’s most complex portfolios, unleashed on the readers of Daily Maverick last week.

Mbalula, the transport minister, has taken great offence at a column written by journalist Stephen Grootes, in which he questioned Cyril Ramaphosa’s wisdom in keeping a serial failure such as Mbalula in positions of national importance. Rather than tackle the real issue — the ghastly destruction of SA’s passenger rail service, among others — Mbalula huffed that he was a victim of “gutter journalism”. 

His ministry, he wrote, had brought before the cabinet, “among many other submissions”, a national rail policy “which was subject to robust scrutiny … a blueprint for positioning rail as the backbone of the transport system”.

That must be of huge comfort to commuters who, unable to rely on a once-functioning, cheap and safe passenger rail service, are seeing their incomes devoured by a relentlessly rising fuel price. 

The simple fact is that Mbalula would not attract the derision he so richly deserves if he did anything approaching a decent job.


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