Fired deputy minister Simelisizwe Sibanda apologises for his "misguided" actions


Simelisizwe Sibanda, the fired deputy minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, has made a public apology over the actions that led to his dismissal.

Bubi MP Simelisizwe Sibanda [Image: The Chronicle]

His sacking came in the wake of his controversial directive for the transfer of a non-Ndebele teacher after parents complained over the deployment of the teacher during a visit to Clonnmore Primary School by the ousted top government official. 

Sibanda – who is the ZANU-PF Member of Parliament (MP) for Bubi Constituency in Matabeleland North – had earlier defended his actions on the basis that he was following government policy. 

He conveyed his "sincere apologies" for what he called "misguided and inappropriate" actions regarding the ability of the teacher to teach in Ndebele. 

"I understand that my approach to addressing the issue of a teacher's language proficiency was misguided and inappropriate, leading to perceptions of tribalism," Sibanda said in his apology.

"I want to assure the public and especially the teachers that my intention was solely to ensure that our children receive quality education, and I was concerned about the teacher's ability to communicate effectively with her students. 

"However, as a national leader, I should have addressed this issue through appropriate channels, avoiding public platforms that may have fueled the tribal connotations."

In the apology, he said that he takes "full responsibility for my actions and acknowledge that my approach was wrong". 

He said he was aware his actions may have elicited tribal divisions, extending his apologies to the "teaching fraternity" and the "nation at large". 

"I understand that my actions may have perpetuated tribal divisions, and for that, I truly apologise to the whole teaching fraternity and nation at large. I want to assure the public that my commitment to our nation's unity and development has always been genuine."

Notably, Sibanda did not directly apologise to the affected teacher. 

He made apologies to the ZANU-PF party and its leadership, and said that he regrets having let down President Emmerson Mnangagwa for his actions caused by a "lack of judgment". 

"I hope that the public will accept my sincere apologies and recognize my commitment to our nation's unity and progress. I am committed to learning from this experience and growing as a leader," Sibanda concluded.

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