While Mpumalanga premier, Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane, was leading marches and walks against gender-based violence, her aide was supporting an ANC leader accused of assaulting a woman.
Premier’s spokesperson, Sibongile Mkani-Mpolweni has confirmed that Mtsweni-Tsipane’s appointment secretary, known as Tony Molelekoa, was at the South Gauteng high court to support Ngrayi Ngwenya, during office hours.
She said that he was there in his personal capacity.
“Mr Molelekoa ‘s presence at the High Court was not in any way informed by the Office of the Premier but rather for personal reasons. Mr Molelekoa attended court in support of a friend who had a matter that was before the court on Tuesday, the 10th of September 2019,” said Mkani-Mpolweni.
Ngwenya was in court to challenge his suspension from the ANC for allegedly assaulted the organisation’s acting provincial secretary – a woman – Lindiwe Ntshalintshali. He lost the case, but the ANC’s National Disciplinary Committee found him not guilty.
Mtshweni-Tsipane’s office also paid for all the expenses that Molelekoa incurred while in Pretoria, which include hotel accommodation, transport, food and for being outside his working place.
The premier’s spin doctor, however, justified Molelekoa’s all-expenses paid trip. She also explained the remarkable coincidences which made an office-bound civil servant to be in court during working hours.
“Mr Molelekoa was on leave until Tuesday, the 10th of September 2019. On the 11th of September 2919, Mr Molelekoa was in Pretoria on an official assignment.”
“In light of the official duties on the 11th of September 2019 and consistent with the Department’s sustenance (sic) policy, Mr Molelekoa was provided with accommodation on the 10th of September 2019,” said Mkani-Mpolweni.
She failed to respond to further questions about the nature of the official assignment.
She also failed to produce the invitation or to disclose the venue of the “official business”, the attendance register, and the report of the event that Molelekoa was attending.
When asked to disclose these, all Mkani-Mpolweni could say was:
“I’m still waiting for the information”.
More than a week later, since the enquiry, the response has not been forthcoming.
Ntshalintshali confirmed that she saw Molelekoa in court, but was unaware that Mtshweni-Tsipane’s office had paid for his all his expenses in Pretoria.
“I saw him at the High Court with Ngrayi’s group. It is very disturbing to learn that the Office of the Premier is using state resources to support people who assault women, while she is campaigning against gender-based violence,” said Ntshalintshali
Mtshweni-Tsipane also failed to comment on her aide’s support for a GBV accused, while she was campaigning against it.
To date, Mtshweni-Tsipane has not condemned the attack on Ntshalintshali. Mkani-Mpolweni says the reason for that was because the premier did not believe that Nthslintshali’s assault must be singled out for condemnation.
“The Premier is of the belief that the scourge of GBV must be condemned indiscriminately (sic). The Premier has issued numerous press releases and addressed numerous events wherein GBV was condemned with the utmost contempt,” said Mkani-Mpolweni.
Notwithstanding this claim, last month, Mkani-Mpolweni issued a poster on the official government Whatsapp group, in which Mtshweni-Tsipane condemned the killing of University of Western Cape student, Uyinene Mrwetyana.
When this poster was brought to her attention, she also failed to respond to questions.
Molelekoa is not new to controversy. Earlier this year he threatened to sue two women for claiming that he was Tsipane-Mtshweni’s step son, and that he got his position through nepotism. He denied the claim.
Mtshweni appointed Molelekoa while she was still MEC for co-opertative governance and traditional affairs, and moved with him when David Mabuza appointed her as premier in 2018.