KZN Premier Can No Longer Stall Over “Amigo” Accused

Sizwe Mchunu, MPP

Leader of the Democratic Alliance in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature

FAILURE by Premier, Zweli Mkhize, to immediately suspend KwaZulu-Natal MEC, Mike Mabuyakhulu, and his co-accused in the R42 million Intaka water purification scam, provincial Speaker Peggy Nkonyeni, will be a serious blight on his leadership ability.

This follows Mabuyakhulu’s admission that, as former KZN ANC Treasurer, he accepted R1 million in cash from erstwhile provincial Treasury head, Sipho Shabalala, allegedly as a result of the Intaka deal. Mabuyakhulu’s protestations, that he accepted the money as part of a political donation and that he was not aware of its origins, do not exonerate him. The mere fact that he has finally decided to come clean suggests that he knew he was handling “dirty money” and that he realises time is running out for him. Recent developments also point to the distinct possibility that Shabalala could be the scapegoat – if guilty, Mabuyakhulu and Nkoneyni must go down with him. Any attempt to have charges dropped against either individual will make a mockery of the upcoming trial and our justice system. There are too many questions that remain unanswered and both are key witnesses if the truth is going to be disclosed.

The Premier, both in his capacity as KZN political head and Chairperson of the ANC in the province, can no longer stall and must immediately suspend both parties, pending the outcome of the June trial. Given the serious charges against them, the DA strongly believes that neither is fit for higher office and must clear their names before they are permitted to resume any senior provincial government position.

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