At the beginning of the month, the transport minister addressed a large crowd at the Noord Taxi Rank in the Johannesburg CBD. The African Transformation Movement (ATM) has hit back at Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, who on Tuesday accused the party of seeking attention after the party laid a charge against him.
ATM announced on Tuesday that it had laid a charge. At the beginning of the month, Mbalula addressed a large crowd at the Noord Taxi Rank in the Johannesburg CBD.
ATM stated that Mbalula had violated the lockdown regulation which prohibited the gathering of more than 100 people, which was later revised to no more than 50 by government, as a measure to maintain a healthy social distance between people.
Mbalula responded by accusing the party of trying to “score cheap political points for their 15 minutes of fame”.
He accused the ATM of knowing that he had not convened any rally or mobilised any crowd to convene at the Noord taxi rank. The visit, according to Mbalula, was to ensure compliance with regulations and directions of the lockdown regulations.
The ATM then said it was disappointed by Mbalula’s response to the charges laid against him.
In a statement, ATM said: “We call on the minister not to try and influence the investigation with media statements insulting not only the ATM but the intelligence of the people of South Africa at large. It is common cause that when a case has been opened, ventilations are done in the court of law to prove innocence or guilt. We suggest that minister Mbalula must get a lawyer to fairly present his defence in court and prove his innocence there.”
“Why does Minister Mbalula think he should not have his day in court when there’s compelling visual evidence implicating him?
“All that is important is a fair application of the law across all citizens of this country. Nobody is above the law, including the minister of transport.”
ATM called on President Cyril Ramaphosa and Police Minister Bheki Cele to apply even-handed judgments when applying the law to citizens.
“We also appeal to Ipid [Independent Police Investigative Directorate] to monitor the behaviour of the police where prominent individuals are blatantly breaking the law.”
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Source: The Citizen