Why sports minister frequently makes a hash (tag) of it
HIS PENCHANT for taking to Twitter to express his views has earned him critics, with some saying he suffers from foot-inmouth disease.
But Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula remains defiant to the end, insisting he won’t retreat from the social media space, let alone tone down his ideological tussles with his opponents and critics alike.
“What is Twitter?” Mbalula asks, in a rather confrontational tone when he is asked about being a member of the Twitterati.
“We live in a society where people don’t know what ministers are doing, where others say all that ministers do is sleep in Parliament.
“For me, Twitter has become the greatest marketing platform and social network to tell the story of what I do.
“I can’t rely on people like you (the media), people who second-guess what I do.”
Mbalula is not one to shy away from taking on his opponents via Twitter, as witnessed in the social media turf war with his friend-turned-foe, EFF leader Julius Malema, recently. Again, he remains unapologetic.
“I can’t run away and allow myself to be bullied in a public space created for all of us to participate in. I can’t suffer from blackmail of some sort of undefined status that is very elusive about how a minister must behave.
“I will never allow somebody to distort my work just because they enjoy a better platform, and if I express myself through it, then I am not being ministerial?” So how should the minister behave? “A minister mustn’t be drunk in public. A minister must be a moral figure in terms of what he or she seeks to achieve and be able to express himself on pertinent questions that face society because there are no holy cows in this life.”
And how does the minister respond to the public attacks?
“It’s important that I must take criticism in good faith and distinguish between criticism that is genuine and that which is not.
“When people differ with me and swear at me, I recognise the fact that other people are really, really inferior because they should be engaging constructively without patronising us ministers.
“Globalisation has actually evolved to a point where the world has become smaller because I can relate to anybody in a split second.
“It is this inclination that leads to people reacting on the spur of the moment and expressing the type of views they might later regret.
“You say things on the spot that other people don’t want to hear and then you are subjected to scrutiny. I said Bafana Bafana were a bunch of losers and I was told that I wasn’t being ministerial because the minister must be diplomatic.
“Today, within the limited space that has been created, I can express my views. I enjoy myself on Twitter more than any other thing. I love the ridiculous stuff, the hilarious things that people get to say.”