Allegations against Deputy President David Mabuza made international headlines this week after The New York Times ran an exposé on him in its Saturday edition.
In it, the reporters exposed a host of allegations that have dogged Mabuza for years, primarily relating to his time as MEC for education and later the premier of Mpumalanga, the Lowvelder reports.
The article claimed he improperly used money allocated for education in Mpumalanga to buy political power to ultimately ascend to the ANC deputy presidency.
The article also raised questions about how Mpumalanga became such a strong voting bloc in the ANC.
During his term in the education department, the province was caught fabricating matric pass rates, allegedly doctored inside Mabuza’s own home, and an investigation was never completed.
Sibusiso Themba from the ANC Mpumalanga, however, said the allegations are nothing new.
“The people who were making the allegations were told to lay charges against him, and no one has ever submitted any evidence. These are stories that are being written. We have seen them and heard them before, but they have never added the evidence,” he said.
Mabuza’s spokesperson, Thami Ngwenya, said the article was a regurgitation of older stories.
“The article is viewed in the same way as previous attempts of political smearing against the name of the deputy president. They are rejected with the contempt they deserve,” he said.
Theo Venter, a political analyst, said it became more difficult to remove and deal with a person when they were already in office.
“When in office he has resources and the power to fight. Why were the issues that are being raised about Mabuza not dealt with five years ago? He started walking his way up long before last December,” he said.
“Ramaphosa had to make a deal with the devil, with no doubt Mabuza being one of the compromises he had to make. Having him as a deputy president is demeaning for South Africa as a nation. People are talking and writing about him worldwide. How will the country sustain itself?”
Venter said Mabuza was a heartbeat away from becoming the country’s president.
“Looking at the ANC right now, it is divided so much that they won’t be able to elect anyone as president.
“It was a very positive thing for South Africans to have Ramaphosa as president and to have gotten rid of Jacob Zuma.
“Then to have Mabuza as deputy president – it has made some South Africans start losing hope for change. The people are disappointed that Ramaphosa is not dealing with corruption,” said Venter.
The national ANC, the presidency and the Mpumalanga department of education did not respond to the Lowvelder’s request for comment. They are yet to weigh in on the New York Times article and the reception it has received.