Chiwayo set to earn ambassadorial stripes

2011-10-01 17:14

Lassy Chiwayo, the former mayor of Mbombela municipality in Mpumalanga, is set to be posted to the People’s ­Republic of China next year as South ­Africa’s ambassador.

Chiwayo confirmed he is presently ­undergoing training at the Department of International Relations and Co-operation’s Diplomatic Academy in Pretoria until January next year.

He would not say whether China was to be his destination after training.

The present ambassador in China is Dr Bheki Langa.

“I’m currently based at the academy until I’m advised about the long-term plan. “I don’t know what will happen afterwards,” Chiwayo said.

Department of International Relations and Co-operation spokesperson Clayson Monyela also declined to comment on Chiwayo’s appointment.

ANC sources in the province said ­Chiwayo’s new position was engineered at Luthuli House by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and ANC treasurer Mathews Phosa.

Chiwayo had a torrid time as Mbombela executive mayor, a position he held from 2008 until May last year, after the local government elections.

He has been at war with Premier David Mabuza since they contested the ANC provincial chairpersonship in 2008.

Mabuza won and then became Mpumalanga premier.

Chiwayo is also a former finance MEC under Matthew Phosa’s premiership and is presently the ANC’s provincial executive committee (PEC) member.

He had become the face of the anti-Mabuza campaign in the province as he openly spoke out about large-scale corruption in provincial government and dissatisfaction with the way ANC matters were dealt with.

Chiwayo was hospitalised three times for stress during his Mbombela tenure., and in one incident last year, he was restrained as he angrily yelled and charged at Mabuza during a meeting of the party’s officials.

Chiwayo was admitted to a mental hospital after that incident for his third stress treatment.The stress was apparently induced by his concern with the way in which the ­police and the ANC handled the assassination of former Mbombela speaker ­Jimmy Mohlala.

Mohlala was shot dead in January 2009.

He was fighting tender corruption on the Mbombela world cup soccer stadium and was planning to lay criminal charges with the police before his death.

Before vacating the mayor’s position, Chiwayo beefed up his security as he feared he could be assassinated.

He and Mpumalanga police commissioner Lietenant-General Thulani Ntombela were also at war.

Ntombela charged Chiwayo with defamation of character last year, while Chiwayo lodged a complaint with the Independent Complaints Directorate (IDC) accusing Ntombela of abusing his power and being biased to Mabuza’s faction when dealing with complaints.

“I’m happy to be away from Mpumalanga and as you know I suffered a lot of stress there.

“But wherever I’ll be, I’ll never be content if Mpumalanga as a place that made me is not doing fine,That province has potential and it can rightfully take its place under the sun,” Chiwayo said.

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