United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa yesterday set tongues wagging on social media after accusing ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe of attempting to distract attention from a tender scandal to which he is purportedly linked by presenting himself as an upstanding leader of the church.
Holomisa posted a picture of Mantashe on his Facebook account and wrote: “#PastorMantashe. Taking chances.” The picture showed Mantashe standing in a house and wearing what appeared to be an Apostolic church uniform and talking to congregants through a microphone.
Speaking to The Citizen later, Holomisa said it was not necessary for Mantashe to go to church, because he and his family allegedly benefitted from fraudulent tender transactions in the past.
He cited the scandal relating to a R6.31-million tender that was reportedly fraudulently awarded to the Sizayenza Group by the Amathole District Municipality early last year to build toilets in parts of the Eastern Cape. The company was reported to have had links with several ANC leaders and Mantashe’s wife, Nolwandle.
“It is annoying to see Mantashe calling himself a pastor, because he is the beneficiary of that scandal,” said Holomisa.
“I stand by my posts. This (Mantashe) is a person who should be leading by example. I was surprised to see him in a church and wearing a church uniform. He is hiding behind religion.”
Holomisa said he downloaded Mantashe’s picture from another social media site. By late yesterday afternoon, Holomisa’s posts had been shared 1 695 times, received 2 557 likes and had 1 147 comments on Facebook. Facebook user Mthokozisi Shabalala wrote: “Awu! Politics can make you do things you never thought you’d do.”
Makgamata Charles William asked: “Why are they pastors only when the elections are near?” Slamming Holomisa’s posts in isiXhosa, Bongiwe Princess asked: “Kutheni wena Holomisa ungayi kweyakho icawe soloku ujongana nabanye nje? [Why don’t you, Holomisa, go to your own church as you are always watching others?].”
Tuzzy Zokwana wrote: “What I know is that father Gwede grew up in this church.” Several attempts to contact Mantashe drew a blank, as his phone was switched off.