Mbalula tells Niehaus to ‘stop fooling around’ after he vows to appeal ANC suspension
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has taken a dig at Carl Niehaus's vow to appeal his suspension from the ANC, telling him to “stop fooling around”.
On Wednesday, the ANC temporarily suspended the controversial Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) spokesperson after his speeches outside former president Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home at the weekend.
In a letter circulating on social media, the party said it was suspending Niehaus with immediate effect.
Reacting to the letter, Niehaus said he would be appealing the decision. “I remain a dedicated liberation fighter,” he added.
However, Mbalula, using a meme of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, told Niehaus to “stop fooling around”.
“Musuk'ganga wena, hlala phansi [Stop fooling around, sit down],” the post read.
Attempts to get further comment from Mbalula were unsuccessful at the time of publishing this story. Comment will be included once received.
Speaking on eNCA, Mbalula suggested the ANC had finally put the brakes on Niehaus.
“In the ANC, we have made mistakes, even ourselves ... but that Niehaus, he goes on and on. Non-stop, no brakes. By the time the ANC stops those brakes, we get some fluid to stop them, his movement will be gone,” he jokingly said.
The pair have publicly taken digs at each other over the past few months. Niehaus threatened Mbalula with an R8m lawsuit after he called him a “thug” on Twitter last year.
Mbalula's “thug” comment dates back to October, when he claimed certain members of the association were “thugs calling themselves veterans”.
This after the association in Gauteng marched against Mbalula, demanding that he be arrested regarding the country's almost defunct train service.
Niehaus called on Mbalula to apologise and retract his comments.
“As a member of the NEC of MKMVA and national spokesperson of MKMVA, I will be negligent in my duties to let this appalling tweet by you, minister Mbalula, go unchallenged. You must retract and apologise,” Niehaus said at the time.
Niehaus said he was suing Mbalula because the statements received a wider audience after being carried on mainstream media.
He said he suffered damages amounting to R8m and an annual interest of 10.25% because of the tweet.
“That the defendant is ordered to pay to the plaintiff jointly and severally the amount of R8m. Interest on the aforesaid amount at the rate of 10.25% per annum tempore morae to date of payment,” Niehaus said.