Human Rights Commission calls Faith Mazibuko to explain 'combi court' rant

Gauteng sport, arts, culture and recreation MEC Faith Mazibuko. File photo
Gauteng sport, arts, culture and recreation MEC Faith Mazibuko. File photo
Image: Gallo Images / Frennie Shivambu

The South African Human Rights Commission has called Gauteng MEC for sport, arts, culture and recreation Faith Mazibuko to appear before it on Tuesday to clarify comments she made in a "rant" that was leaked to the public in an audio recording.

The commission said it became aware, through various social media platforms, of the widely circulated recording of a meeting held by Mazibuko in which she lambasted senior managers for failing to deliver sports facilities known as "combi courts", purportedly to bolster support for the ANC ahead of the elections on May 8.

"I empower you, you are not empowerable. Which other department has an Indian that is a CFO? Which department has an HOD that is a mlungu (white person)? Ayikho (there is none), including national," Mazibuko was heard saying.

The commission said upon assessment of the statements, it was of the view that her comments implicated a number of rights listed in the bill of rights.

"Following this, the commission initiated an own accord investigation and consolidated all complaints received from members of the public into one, and proceeded to assess this matter."

The commission wants Mazibuko to appear before it to fully assess the matter and "clarify" remarks attributed to her in the audio recording.

Following the leaked audio recording, Mazibuko issued a public apology to her head of department and chief financial officer.

"I, Faith Mazibuko, member of the executive (MEC) responsible for sport, arts, culture and recreation in Gauteng 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.

"After deep personal reflections, I want to unreservedly apologise for the tone and improper language I used towards my head of department (HoD) and chief financial officer (CFO)," she added.

The senior managers 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".

As the two tried to explain why it was not be possible to deliver them 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.