The man at the centre of allegations that he is running the beleaguered ministry of water and sanitation and is Minister Nomvula Mokonyane’s “Ben 10” has rubbished reports that he is romantically involved with the minister and calls the shots at the department.
Luvo Makasi, the minister’s alleged “young male companion”, broke his silence on Tuesday following a City Press report at the weekend that he allegedly orders around senior employees and attends management meetings at the department.
The 32-year-old, a director at Cape Town law firm Boqwana Burns, said his personal and professional conduct had been put to question by the paper, which he said, misrepresented its facts.
“The article was published without my comment and respect which contains, at best, certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations, and at worst, exhibits intended to malign my reputation and credibility,” Makasi said while addressing the media in Sandton, in Johannesburg, on Tuesday.
“It is evident that City Press did not do any less then willfully ignore simple facts that any credible journalist would have considered and simply verified before publishing an article which defames and criminalises, and at best maligns my name and those of the institutions that I serve,” he added.
The Sunday paper quoted “seven highly placed sources” close to Mokonyane, as well as legal opinion and a letter in its possession. Makasi is also accused of facilitating a near-R1 billion deal in return for kickbacks.
“They travelled together to Iran and New York,” City Press quoted one of the sources as saying.
Makasi said his relationship with the minister had always been professional and continued to be.
“My interactions with Minister Mokonyane and the department of water and sanitation have always been of a professional nature and remain of that nature.
“I categorically and clearly state that this allegation of a romantic relationship, which has seen the minister relinquishing her executive authority to myself, is a false and a blatant lie intended to malign and discredit both myself and the honourable minister.
“I will reiterate that I have a professional relationship with the honourable minister and the department of water and sanitation by virtue of my position as a lawyer.”
Makasi, who’s also the chairman of the Central Energy Fund, is also considering taking legal action over the allegations leveled against him.
The Sowetan reported on Monday that Mokonyane also dismissed the allegations, saying she was a happily married woman.
“I know that for you to get at a woman you must throw something about sleeping, I don’t know how many he [Julius Malema] has said I slept with, the list is long. But it’s okay…” she said.