The young lawyer who is allegedly romantically involved with Nomvula Mokonyane has denied being that close to the controversial minister of water affairs and sanitation except on a professional level.
Luvo Makasi convened a media briefing in Sandton today in the wake of a City Press article on Sunday in which sources alleged he was calling the shots at Mokonyane’s department, received kickbacks and influenced how tenders were awarded.
Makasi, who turns 33 this month, was recently appointed chairperson of the Central Energy Fund Group. He refuted all the allegation, saying they were an “intention to malign and discredit” him.
On the alleged romantic relationship with the minister, who is 21 years his senior, he said: “I categorically and clearly state that this allegation – of a romantic relationship, which has seen the minister relinquishing her executive authority to myself – is false and a blatant lie intended to defame, malign and discredit both myself and the honourable minister. I will reiterate that I have a professional relationship with the department of water and sanitation and the honourable minister by virtue of my position as an attorney and legal adviser.”
Makasi went as far as telling the media how it felt to be called a Ben 10 – a social term used for a man who is in a relationship with an older woman.
“To be called a Ben something is not only defamatory but it’s actually degrading in any sense of being,” he said.
City Press reported that Mokonyane was allowing her young male companion to call the shots in her department – so much that he went as far as giving orders to her director-general. The article also stated that senior department officials and contractors confirmed how Makasi had attended senior management meetings, “arrogantly” dishing out instructions and “ordering us around”.
In response, Makasi said he was a qualified attorney and a director of Boqwana Burns law firm, which provided professional legal services and advice to private clients and government departments as well as state-owned entities.
“Boqwana Burns has in the past and is currently providing legal services for a number of water boards including Sedibeng, Amatole and Lepelle water boards. In this context I have on a number of occasions officially met and engaged with the minister, deputy minister and other officials of the department in respect of issues related to the department’s mandate,” he said.
Makasi said he would not comment any more. He added that he was still consulting on what to do next regarding statements suggesting he was romantically involved with an older woman who happened to be a minister embroiled in controversy, including tender irregularities and allegations of romance with a younger man.
He refuted several other points cited in City Press’ story, including travelling with her alleged older lover to Iran and New York. The lawyer, who appeared unsettled as he addressed the media, said he had never been to any of the two destinations and was willing to provide his passport to prove it.
Makasi also denied travelling to Limpopo last year where City Press was told he tried to dictate instructions on who should get which tender on the R2.2 billion water infrastructure project in Polokwane.
“I did not at any time in 2016 travel to Limpopo ... I was last in Limpopo in 2011 attending the ANC’S 99th birthday celebration held at Peter Mokaba Stadium. Prior to 2011, I was last in Polokwane in 2009 campaigning for ANC Youth League,” Makasi said.
Meanwhile, Makasi said he was seeking legal advice and could possibly take legal action against City Press for the article.
When asked about Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema’s public statements about him being close to the minister and the go-to guy for tenders, he said he was also seeking legal advice and could sue him.
Malema, earlier in February and long before City Press published its story, tweeted: “Luvo Makasi is running the water affairs in this country. If you want to be paid or tender he’s the man to speak to otherwise you won’t succeed.”
The outspoken politician did not waste time and took to Twitter soon after Makasi had mentioned possible legal action against him and tweeted: