Limpopo govt spokesperson faces suspension over allegations of leaking documents to EFF

2018-11-02 16:22
Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha is seen during the NCOP findings on different government department debriefing meeting. (Sandile Ndlovu, Gallo Images, Sowetan, file)

Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha is seen during the NCOP findings on different government department debriefing meeting. (Sandile Ndlovu, Gallo Images, Sowetan, file)

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Limpopo government spokesperson Phuti Seloba has vowed to fight his possible suspension, pending an investigation into allegations that he leaked confidential information to an opposition party.

Seloba has already been slapped with a letter informing him of the intention to suspend. He was given until Monday, November 5, to make representations on why he should not be suspended.

In an interview with News24 on Friday, Seloba said there was no logic in suspending him. He said he would make representations against the move.

"I challenge the accusers to come clean. I'm dealing with a bunch of people conniving against me. I needed this investigation long ago, because rumours have been there for some time. It [the investigation] came at the right time," Seloba said.

No link

He said, while he welcomed the investigation, he did not see the need for his suspension, because "the allegations have nothing to do with my work".

Announcing the possible suspension late on Thursday, Premier Stan Mathabatha's spokesperson, Kenny Mathivha, said: "The provincial government has been made aware of serious allegations made against the provincial spokesperson, Mr Phuti Seloba, in the past few days."

The allegations emanate from EFF provincial chairperson Jossey Buthane, who posted messages on social media that Seloba had approached him on various occasions since last year, and made serious allegations against Mathabatha and certain MECs.

Buthane said Seloba had told him that the premier occasionally missed appointments and meetings, even if accommodation arrangements had been made.

Serious allegations

"I spoke about this information in the Standing Committee of Public Accounts, in the presence of the premier, and it wasn't denied. This was even in 2018," Buthane said.

He said Seloba had told him that the premier went on an international trip with a bodyguard and, when he boarded a connecting flight, the bodyguard was nowhere to be seen.

"He told me the premier was not allowed to travel with bodyguards on international trips, as the privilege was provided by the host countries. That constituted wasteful expenditure," Buthane said.

He also said Seloba had provided him with information on former MEC Onnica Moloi about the irregular appointments at the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture.

Seloba also spilled the beans on the alleged misappropriation of R200 000 by the now Roads and Transport MEC Mapula Mokaba-Phukwana.

The money was meant for security upgrades at the MEC's residence.

Urgent court application

However, Seloba told News24 that he had been involved in running battles with the EFF for the past three months and: "I dealt with some of the issues. How then do they become my issues?

"My biggest question is that, why are they struggling to come with evidence? There are some people who are out to tarnish my good image. The allegations have nothing to do with my work," he said.

Early this week, Seloba launched an urgent application in the Polokwane High Court to stop Buthane from posting messages about him on social media.

However, Judge Motsaro Semenya, dismissed the application on the basis that it lacked urgency.

"This information is already out there and there is no way to stop it. The applicant should have come to the court immediately after seeing the posts," the judge said.

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