Gauteng MEC’s insult costs R 350 000

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Caucus Leader

An insulting remark by Gauteng MEC Faith Mazibuko to a mother of triplets cost the Gauteng Provincial Government R350 000 after the matter went to court.

This is revealed by the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development in response to my application under the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA).

As reported in the Sowetan newspaper on 11 December 2009, Mazibuko told Ms Lerato Radijeje (38), a poor mother of seven-month-old triplets, to keep her legs closed and stop having children. The front page report was headlined “MEC Faith Mazibuko tells poor mother of triplets ‘Keep your legs closed’ “.

Ms Radijeje lives in a shack in Weiler’s Farm south of Johannesburg. She was insulted by then Infrastructure Development MEC Faith Mazibuko when she applied for social assistance at Pontsong clinic in De Deur in the Vaal.

Radijeje was quoted as saying “I tried to explain my situation but she told me that I should ‘close up’. I do not know what she was trying to say. What was I supposed to do to my babies? Abandon them?”.

Radijeje sued Mazibuko (who is now Community Safety MEC) and the Gauteng Premier for R2 million, and the settlement amount of R350 000 was made an order of the court and paid on 18 November 2013.

This amount was kept secret from the Legislature by current Infrastructure Development MEC Qedani Mahlangu who claimed that the settlement was confidential, but I got the information after a successful PAIA request.

The money was paid from the Department’s “Professional Fees” (Legal Fees) budget.

It is outrageous that taxpayers have paid for Mazibuko’s grossly insensitive words. It should not have been covered up and she should have been publicly rebuked by the ANC and the ANC Women’s league.

Mazibuko should publicly apologise and pay back the money spent on this settlement.