The Public Service Commission (PSC) has found that during his time as spokesperson to deputy president David ‘DD’ Mabuza, Zibonele Mncwango acted in a wrongful manner that lacked the necessary professional ethics befitting of a public servant.
It was also found that Mncwango’s actions amounted to wasteful expenditure.
The DA filed a complaint against Mncwango after he used government resources to issue a statement defending Mabuza against allegations made by Matthews Phosa that he had been an apartheid spy.
Mabuza was premier of Mpumalanga at the time.
In May this year, during a question and answer session with current Premier Refilwe Mtshweni, the premier defended Mr Mncwango’s actions, claiming that the matter between Mabuza and Phosa was personal and that no government resources had been spent on the case.
The DA issued a statement today accusing Mtshweni of taking “every available opportunity to defend Mabuza’s corrupt legacy” and misleading the legislature “for Mabuza’s benefit.”
“Mabuza used and abused funds designated to the empowerment of our people and development of clinics, houses and roads to maintain a corrupt patronage network,” the statement said.
“The people of Mpumalanga and South Africa will only be free when the ANC is no longer in government,” it continues.
The DA claims that Mpumalanga will suffer “for years to come” due to Mabuza’s “grip on the province.”
The PSC recommended that director-general of the premier’s office, Kgopano Mohlasedi, takes action against Mncwango while also trying to “apply his mind to an appropriate sanction to prevent further abuse of state resources.”
This morning The Citizen reported that Mabuza has been having a tough week. The New York Times wrote a damning article about the politician, accusing him of corruption and maladministration. He also came 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”.
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.
A 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.