Maphatsoe and Niehaus attacked me first: Mbalula

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Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula says Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) President Kebby Maphatsoe and its spokesperson, Carl Niehaus attacked him first during a public spat on social media.

Mbalula was reacting to questions regarding his tweets where he lashed out at MKMVA veterans who marched to Luthuli House demanding that he be arrested.

MKMVA President Kebby Maphatsoe explains the aim of the march: 

Mbalula was speaking during the handing over of a bridge to the community of Phasha outside Brits in North West.

The MKMVA accused Mbalula of having helped collapse the economy by removing private security at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), saying it resulted in the theft of railway infrastructure which impacted economic activity and disadvantaged commuters who depend on trains.

Mbalula responds 

Hitting back at the accusations, Mbalula took to social media and questioned the MKMVA’s motive for the protest and its interest in the Prasa security contracts.

Mbalula says those who took part in the march at Luthuli House on Monday are serving their own selfish interests.

“Security companies that were involved there, those that Kebby claim were involved in the name of MK, those things did not benefit the soldiers. It was their own pockets and they were illegal. They are actually responsible – some of those companies – for the mess of vandalism that you are seeing. Now, Kebby wants to promote that because he was getting a nice fat thing out of it probably. It’s not MK. MK is led by respectable people.”

North West bridge

Meanwhile, the community of Phasha in the North West have welcomed the handing over of a multi-million rand bridge over the Tolwane river in the province. The 50-metre long bridge serves as a link between Phasha and the rest of the areas within the Madibeng Municipality, as well as neighbouring areas in Gauteng.

“We’ve been struggling. Now, that it’s repaired it will benefit us a lot,” says one of the residents.

Mbalula says the bridge is proof of the government’s commitment to service delivery.

“It’s a very important bridge because it connects communities. Kids will be able to go to school even on rainy days and then workers will be able to work. People will be able to commute. Connecting communities in and around here and that is what is important. So, it’s service delivery and we’re responding to the call when Mandela said let freedom reign and liberate all our people. This is the heart of the rural of North West. Just this bridge that’s all the people needed.”

Construction to repair the bridge started in 2018 after it collapsed during heavy rain.