A report in The Star on Monday examined speculation about why a former staunch ANC funder, and one of the key men behind the Friends of Jacob Zuma Trust, has now joined the National Freedom Party.
Philani Mavundla’s ceremony to join the official opposition in KwaZulu-Natal reportedly took place on Sunday in Greytown, and he told the publication the reason he’d switched sides was supposedly due to corruption and political killings in the ANC.
He denied rumours that his departure had more to do with the ascension of Cyril Ramaphosa to the presidency and that he was now less likely to win major construction and property tenders from government. Mavundla’s company can boast of involvement in a string of major developments, including the building of the King Shaka International Airport, the international convention centre in Durban, a power station and the Sibaya Casino.
It was also reported that Mavundla’s mansion fell victim to a fire on Friday night. One of the fire trucks broke down on the way to extinguishing the blaze and the other one apparently also struggled.
The former mayor of Umvoti once made headlines for donating his entire salary to the town council between 2011 and 2013, and using his own car to get around. He told The Witness that the broken-down fire truck had been put into commission during his mayoral term, but had evidently not been properly maintained.
Mavundla had formerly also been a prominent funder of the trust that aided Zuma’s fightback campaign after Zuma’s axing in 2005, which ended with Zuma becoming ANC president in 2007 and the country’s president in 2009.
He later even offered to pay the costs for some of Zuma’s state-sponsored upgrades to Nkandla that the then public protector found were not security related.
Mavundla told The Star he was not blindly loyal to Zuma and had not supported Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s presidential campaign.
(Compiled by Charles Cilliers)