Citizen Reporter
3 minute read
7 Aug 2018
10:08 am

Man accused of flirting with Zuma’s rape accuser now DD Mabuza’s special adviser

Citizen Reporter

Two significant controversies stain the former crime intelligence boss' track record.

Deputy President David Mabuza. Picture: Gallo Images

Deputy President David Mabuza has been having a tough week. The New York Times wrote a damning article about the politician, accusing him of corruption and maladministration. Now he has come under fire for his controversial choice of Mulani Mphego as special adviser.

Mphego’s past as a crime intelligence boss has been marked by two significant controversies.

He was accused of interfering with witnesses during late former police commissioner Jackie Selebi’s corruption case. He was also mentioned in Redi Tlhabi’s book Khwezi as having flirted with Fezekile Khuzwayo, Jacob Zuma’s rape accuser, while she was under police protection. Mphego has denied this.

The book details how Mphego asked Khuzwayo to sit on his lap, later attempting to use the incident to portray her as a “loose woman” who had initiated sex with Zuma.

Mabuza’s spokesperson Thami Ngwenya confirmed Mphego’s appointment to News24.

According to Ngwenya, Mphego’s role will involve liaising with “stakeholders that the deputy president deals with in the execution of his responsibilities, especially in priority programmes assigned to him that include HIV/Aids, land reform and engagement with traditional leadership”.

Ngwenya said Mphego would not be a political adviser, instead advising on “priority programmes”.

READ MORE: New York Times article says Mabuza ‘undercuts New Dawn’ more than anyone else

Asked about Mphego’s past, Ngwenya said: “Nothing untoward that would undermine his contribution to the work of building a prosperous nation has been brought to the attention of the office of the deputy president.”

“As things stand, we are looking forward to him joining and bolstering the team of the office of the deputy president, and we are confident that he will make the work of government effective,” he continued.

Saturday feature in major US publication The New York Times (NYT) was scathing of Deputy President David Mabuza, “a former math teacher” who has “become one of the most powerful figures in the African National Congress”.

The article offered a long background of Mabuza’s history and rise to power, focusing initially on his control of Mpumalanga and particularly its education system, “where millions of dollars for education have disappeared into a vortex of suspicious spending, shoddy public construction and brazen corruption to fuel his political ambitions, according to government records and officials in his party”.

The article referred to his election as deputy president as “an odd choice, especially at a time when the ANC is desperate to purge its reputation for graft and restore its image as the rightful heir to Mr [Nelson] Mandela’s legacy”.

They report that Mabuza allegedly siphoned off vast amounts of money from schools and other public services over the years to “buy loyalty and amass enormous power, making him impossible to ignore on the national stage and putting him in position to shape South Africa for years to come”.

The article also mentioned allegations of nearly 20 political assassinations in Mpumalanga under Mabuza, “some after exposing graft in public works projects”. Many people the NYT spoke to expressed their fear of him and the political climate in general.

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