Journalist offered R5 000 bribe - claim
Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance (DA) said it was astonished to learn that the spokesperson of Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza apparently attempted to bribe City Press journalist Sizwe Sama Yende with R5 000 in cash to drop a story that implicated Mabuza in a major agricultural tender scandal.
According to the report, Mabuza's spokesperson made it clear that the money in question was being handed over to prevent the story from being published. He even apparently went so far as to say: "One day I will ask you for a favour like I did about the story, and will expect you to help me." Yende apparently then drove to Nelspruit Police Station, where he handed over the money to authorities.
The DA welcomed the fact that the SAPS Organised Crime Unit was investigating the incident. However, they wanted the ANC to state categorically what its position was on this matter, and whether it denied that Mabuza was involved in attempting to bribe a journalist.
The DA said ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe needed to take immediate action on this matter, and it believed that the Premier's position was simply untenable after these revelations.
In a statement, the DA said both the bribe and the tender scandal required immediate investigation. The latter allegedly involved the premier's former business partner receiving a R230m tender to supply tractors to provincial farmers.
The tender was apparently never budgeted for, nor was it part of departmental planning, according to a local newspaper, whose journalists are in possession of a leaked audit report.
The DA said it would follow the police investigation very carefully and would demand that the forensic audit report be publicly released, and that offending parties were held to account.