Cape Town - The “slight” chance Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe might have had to become ANC president and president of the country, has become even slimmer, Netwerk24 reported.
This follows claims that he was involved in a series of sex SMSs and emails sent to a young employee at the Unions Buildings in Pretoria, asking for nude pictures of herself.
The Sunday Times reported that Radebe, who in January was approached by some ANC branches to vie for the party’s leadership and thus become the country’s president, had allegedly asked a presidential photographer, Siyasanga Mbambani, 29, for pictures of her genitals.
The SMSs and email correspondence between her and Radebe apparently date back to 2014.
Twitter was abuzz on Sunday about Radebe’s alleged request to Mbambani after a screen shot of the SMSs was published.
Mbambani is said to have been suspended by the government information service (GCIS) for alleged “improper behaviour” and because of the clothes she wears when she is around politicians.
Radebe, 64, is the ANC’s policy head and has served in every Cabinet since 1994.
Attempts to get comment from the Presidency and Radebe’s office on Sunday were unsuccessful.
The ANC could also not be reached for comment.
Political analyst at the Northwest University, André Duvenhage, says he thinks Radebe “has somehow been targeted”. He doesn’t know if the request for the photo “is the end of the world”.
“I don’t want to excuse his behaviour, but he probably has been targeted because of his political loyalties. We know that his position is fairly anti-Zuma. We know that Zuma functions and works through security institutions.”
Duvenhage also believes that the timing is interesting as it coincides with the fight against the rape and murder of women and girls.
“I don’t know if he ever was a strong candidate for the ANC presidency, but I read more into it than just the photographs. I think there is someone behind it,” he said.
Professor Susan Booysen, a political analyst at the University of the Witwatersrand, said it was a pity that such a high profile candidate has been besmirched like that.
“The cellphone messages which were shared leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. It is almost unthinkable that someone like that can have ambitions to become the president.”
Asked if it was game over for Radebe, Booysen said: “In politics one never knows. I don’t think he stood much of a chance in any case. The chances of him becoming a compromise candidate, have just got slimmer.”