Opposition rattles purported skeletons in Mabuza's closet - again

2018-08-30 21:30
Deputy President David Mabuza.  (Gallo Images)

Deputy President David Mabuza. (Gallo Images)

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In line with what has become the norm at Deputy President David Mabuza's question and answer sessions in Parliament, opposition MPs rattled the purported skeletons in his closet.

And, true to form, Mabuza skilfully answered with invitations to anyone who had concrete facts about allegations of fraud and political assassinations against him, to go to the police.

Much of the allegations of fraud levelled against Mabuza during Thursday's question and answer session in the National Assembly, centred on the alleged misappropriation of funds in school infrastructure during his tenure as premier of Mpumalanga.

The New York Times recently ran an article detailing how Mabuza allegedly syphoned cash from schools for his personal benefit and the patronage network that facilitated his rise to power in the ANC. 

In response to an earlier question by DA chief whip John Steenhuisen, Mabuza said he could not be informed by "people in New York" about where he lived.

Later during the sitting, Mabuza answered questions about lifestyle audits for government officials. 

Steenhuisen asked another question and pointed out that it was interesting that he was not informed by people from New York because on the very same day, a letter written by a David Mabuza pertaining to be the deputy president of South Africa, appeared in the New York Times.

"Your article, unfortunately, furthers a divisive narrative. It spins a tale of baseless exaggerations and claims that have been peddled by those who have sought to tarnish my name, as well as that of the African National Congress, my birth province, Mpumalanga, and our country," Mabuza's letter reads.

"I am no kingmaker. I serve in government at the behest of President [Cyril] Ramaphosa, a man I admired well before he stood shoulder to shoulder with Mr [Nelson] Mandela and the forefathers of our revolution. I abhor corruption."

In Trumpian fashion, the author added in the letter: "Any fiction to the contrary or 'fake news' is laughable."

Steenhuisen asked if Mabuza could commit to undergo a lifestyle audit.

"As deputy president of this country, I'm bound by the laws of this country," he said. "Whatever is agreed by this country, I'm bound by it."

He did not say anything in response to Steenhuisen's remark about the New York Times.

The EFF raised allegations that he was behind corruption and political murders in Mpumalanga.

"There have been allegations of corruption, of murder, all sorts of allegations against me," Mabuza said.

"I'm still here."

"That's the problem!" DA MP David Maynier chirped.

Mabuza said no one had opened a case against him and added that, if someone made a factual allegation against him, he could take that person "head on".

"Head on, going to court," he quickly added, as EFF MPs jumped up, raising a point of order as they perceived the words "take head on" to be a threat. 

"I've heard those allegations wherever I'm going," Mabuza continued.

"Please, if you've got any evidence, approach any of our institutions."

He pointed out that continually raising baseless allegations was tantamount to character assassination.

"I don't know whether I look like a criminal. Do I look like a thief?"

"Yes!" hissed DA MPs.

Agang MP Andries Tlouamma stood up and added: "He looks like a suspect."

The last question of the session was about South Africa's readiness for the fourth industrial revolution.

In a follow-up question, DA MP Belinda Bozzoli highlighted the importance of education with regards to the fourth industrial revolution, contrasting it with Mabuza's alleged corruption in the schooling sector.

"Can you assure me you are no longer as corrupt as you once were?" she asked.

"I was never corrupt," Mabuza answered before House chairperson Grace Boroto ruled Bozzoli out of order and asked her to withdraw. Bozzoli refused and was asked to leave the House, which she did, taking her time.

She later tweeted: "No way I would withdraw a question the nation should be asking."

Tlouamma started his question by offering Mabuza some "advice". 

"Deputy President, I just wanted to give you some advice. Whoever advised you to be deputy president, hates you with a passion."

"Can a country led by thieves achieve the fourth industrial revolution?" Tlouamma asked.

"If you mean South Africa, no. South Africa is not led by thieves," Mabuza said.

"If you know those thieves, go tell the police."

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