'Mcebo who?' Mahlobo backtracks on relationship with student leader

2016-11-17 09:25
State Security Minister David Mahlobo. (Picture: Lulama Zenzile)

State Security Minister David Mahlobo. (Picture: Lulama Zenzile)

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Cape Town – Days after claiming to know student leader Mcebo Dlamini "very well", State Security Minister David Mahlobo has done an about-turn on the extent of their relationship.

Mahlobo was answering questions in the National Assembly on Wednesday when he was asked to clarify his relationship with Dlamini.

This follows reports in the Mail & Guardian that Mahlobo had said the student leader had been to his house a number of times.

Mahlobo made the comments while speaking at a panel discussion hosted by the Institute of Security Studies on Monday, November 14.

In a video of the event, posted on November 14 by a Daily Vox journalist, Mahlobo says he is not responsible for Dlamini's arrest.

He was arrested by the police, he said.

"But I happen to know Mcebo, he has been to my house several times," he said, before calling for the country to let the courts deal with the matter.

Security threat

But on Wednesday, the minister said newspaper reports should not be quoted as facts.

"Mcebo Dlamini has never been to my house. That meeting never took place," the minister said on Wednesday, before cautioning against an "agenda by some MPs who took joy" in the students’ struggles.

It was not a great day in Parliament for Mahlobo, who was told by MPs that he needed to take a leave of absence until the cloud hanging over his head was dealt with.

The minister was told he was a threat to the security of the country, while some MPs poked fun at his massage parlour visits.

One MP said Mahlobo was working hard for his "massage parlour slush funding, I hope you have a happy ending".

He was also told he seemed to be an expert at massaging answers and another MP said they hoped he would go to a massage parlour after the hard work session on Wednesday.

Bribery claims

The minister also told Parliament on Wednesday that he would not resign from his job, and called on anyone with evidence of his wrongdoing to come forward.

In a recent Al Jazeera documentary, a self-confessed criminal named Guan Jiang Guang, who is also allegedly involved in a rhino poaching syndicate, openly brags about bribing South African justice and immigration officials.

Video secretly recorded by an undercover investigator shows Guan – a "businessman" and massage parlour owner in Mbombela – swiping through photographs on his phone that appear to show him and Mahlobo.

"He came to my massage parlour every week, or at least twice a month," Guan says. "I know him well … [He was] a guest at my home."

Read more on:    david mahlobo  |  mcebo dlamini  |  politics

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