‘Super HOD’ tag doesn’t bother minister David Mahlobo

2014-06-01 15:00

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Newly appointed State Security Minister ­David Mahlobo (42) was given the sarcastic tag of “Super HOD” by his colleagues in ­Mpumalanga – but he doesn’t mind.

He earned the nickname by having bodyguards and being driven in a vehicle with blue lights like a Cabinet member even though he was just head of the provincial cooperative governance and traditional affairs department.

He comes across as affable, but Mahlobo was considered by many in the provincial government as too arrogant and domineering because of his close relationship with Premier David Mabuza.

“I’m aware that they said I’m Super HOD. That’s because I demand a good work ethic. When I need work, I put pressure on people no matter who they are. However, I speak to people with respect,” Mahlobo said this week.

Mahlobo is a microbiology and biochemistry graduate from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Born in KwaNdwalaza outside Piet Retief, he is the son of Chief Mandlenkosi Mahlobo, who was recently given back his chieftaincy of land straddling Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal.

Some of his Mpumalanga ANC comrades have labelled him an “outsider” and are bitter about his meteoric rise through the organisation’s ranks.

Mahlobo was elected Nelsville branch deputy chairperson in Mbombela in 2010. Two years later, he became a deputy chairperson of the Ehlanzeni region and was then elected to the National Executive Committee (NEC) in Mangaung.

Critics say that after joining the NEC, he obsessively micro-managed municipalities and initiated investigations against mayors and municipal managers who did not toe his line.

His detractors also claim that he forced Mbombela municipal manager Xolani Mzobe out of his job because Mzobe had defied his alleged interference in the municipality’s submission of financial-year statements.

Mzobe was also investigating how Mahlobo’s wife, Nompumelelo, came to be employed as administration officer in the municipality.

“He’s been enjoying benefits because of that friendship with Mabuza. Why was he given protection as if he’s the only ­departmental head investigating corruption? Mahlobo was parachuted into leadership positions in the organisation and he grew too fast at the expense of experienced comrades,” said a provincial executive committee member.

Mahlobo said his new appointment was also being ­questioned.

“Even now, people are asking what a scientist is doing in intelligence. I have a job to do and all I know is that my responsibility is to analyse information and ensure everybody is safe,” he said.

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