Court grants premier’s spin doctor bail

2011-01-13 15:35

Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza’s controversial spin doctor, Mabutho Sithole, appeared in the Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court today on a corruption charge.

His charge relates to the alleged attempt to bribe a City Press journalist last month.

Sithole successfully applied for bail and it was set at R6 000.

He hasn’t pleaded to the charge of allegedly offering Mpumalanga-based journalist Sizwe sama Yende R5 000 in cash to drop a story about a R230 million tender while the premier was still provincial MEC for Agriculture two years ago.

The tender was awarded to Mabuza’s former business partner and friend, Patrick Chirwa.

The tender for the purchase of tractors and farming tools for rural communities was, according to an audit report by the Integrity Management Unit in Mabuza’s office, awarded to Chirwa’s Sizwangendaba Investment (Pty) Ltd under questionable circumstances.

The case was postponed to February 11 for further police investigation, and it has been transferred to the regional court.

Sithole – whose position is at senior management level – has been removed as Mabuza’s spokesperson.

He has denied the allegations and said they were part of a smear campaign against Mabuza and the provincial government.

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