Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow minister of communications, Marian Shinn and minister of communications, Dina Pule, have engaged in a back-and-forth battle of words on the backdrop of DA-led criminal charges against the minister.
Responding to the criminal charges, Pule said that she found the DA’s action curious, but added that, as citizens, the DA does enjoy the right to approach law enforcement agencies when they suspect wrongdoing of any sort.
Pule pointed out, however, that Shinn and the DA were the ones who approached the Public Protector and Parliament’s Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests to investigate her.
Neither of these investigations are completed, Pule said, adding that Shinn clearly doesn’t want to wait for the outcomes of due processes undertaken by the two institutions.
“Her actions seem to either suggest that she is more than happy to use government resources to score cheap political points or prove that, indeed, the devil has ship loads of work for idle minds,” Pule said.
Shinn responded to Pule’s statement, saying that the Minister must stop her frenzied spin and is not keeping track of the amount and varying allegations against her.
“Her response aims to confuse the public into blanketing the different allegations under the ICT Indaba and the subsequent investigations already under way,” Shinn said.
According to Shinn, there are already two investigations in progress:
- Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests Chairman, Professor Ben Turok, has summonsed Minister Dina Pule to appear at a hearing set for 2 and 3 May 2013. This is with regard to a contract awarded to Khemano Events in staging the R102 million ICT Indaba in Cape Town in 2012.
- Minister Dina Pule is being investigated by the Public Protector, also in connection with the ICT Indaba.
“My request to the South Africa Police Service (SAPS) which I made yesterday (10 April 2013) is to investigate further allegations against her contained in the Sunday Times on 24 March 2013,” Shinn said.
“These relate to appointments in the Department of Communication and its entities,” Shinn explained. “We requested this investigation in terms of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act 12 of 2004.”
Shinn said that the core allegation made in the Sunday Times is that the Minister’s boyfriend, Phosane Mngqibisa, seems to be in a position to appoint people of his choice to key positions in the department and its entities and that these people are in a position to influence the awarding of tenders.
“We expect the police to investigate whether these allegations are true and determine the reason for them,” Shinn said.
Pule has dismissed claims that Mngqibisa is her boyfriend and has said that the articles in the Sunday Times are a smear campaign against her that is being waged by the paper.