Premier’s ‘bribe man’ gets time off to deal with case

2010-12-19 11:15

Mabutho Sithole, Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza’s spin doctor, has been told to take time off to deal with bribery allegations that have been made against him.

The controversial Sithole was removed as spokesperson early in the week, but was allowed to keep working in Mabuza’s office after City Press reporter Sizwe sama Yende laid a criminal charge against him for allegedly offering him a R5?000 bribe last week to drop a damning story.

The provincial government’s spokesperson, Lebona Mosia, said Sithole was at home.

Mosia said: “He has been given time off to deal with the case.

“We do not know how long this will be as it ­depends on the progress of the case. There are ­also human resources issues that are still being considered.”

Yende claims that Sithole ­offered him a bribe in order to prevent publication of a story about a R230-million tender awarded to Mabuza’s former business partner and friend, Patrick Chirwa, when Mabuza was the province’s MEC for agriculture two years ago.

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 under questionable circumstances.

Sithole has already been questioned by police and the docket has been sent to the provincial ­director of public prosecutions for a decision on whether to prosecute.

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

He was seeking legal opinion on the matter.

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