Minister and his deputy 'at loggerheads'

THE relationship between Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and his deputy Fikile Mbalula is said to have hit rock bottom.

THE relationship between Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and his deputy Fikile Mbalula is said to have hit rock bottom.

Insiders say the tension arose from the fact that Mthethwa has stripped Mbalula of most of his powers, reducing his office to "an administration centre".

Sources said yesterday the tension reached unbearable levels when Mbalula's arrangement to have his wife join him in Cape Town were reportedly blocked by Mthethwa's office last week.

"Everything has to be authorised through Mthethwa's office and Mbalula cannot live with that. His movements are curtailed," said a source.

Another source alleged that Mthethwa's office removed Mbalula's picture from the walls of his offices in Pretoria and Cape Town last month. "It was after Mbalula's office intervened that the pictures were returned," said the source.

Mbalula is alleged to have approached President Jacob Zuma to complain about the treatment he was subjected to.

"He wanted out, but he was persuaded to stay. They have reduced his duties to administration. Recently he was supposed to brief provincial commissioners but they were phoned one-by-one to cancel the meeting," said the source.

Recent media reports alleged that Mthethwa called Mbalula into his office and chastened him over an event that was planned without his authority in June.

Apparently, Mbalula was blocked by Mthethwa from addressing a departmental function after he was invited by a senior police officer.

Another source dismissed the tension and blamed Mbalula's appetite for power as the main reason for a "perception" that the relationship was frosty.

Department spokesperson Zweli Mnisi said the allegations were unfounded.

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