PARLIAMENT - Deputy President David Mabuza on Thursday accused opposition members of Parliament (MPs) of "character assassination" and denied any wrongdoing following a scathing New York Times exposé earlier in August detailing corruption allegations against him.
"There have been allegations of corruption, of murder - all sorts of allegations levelled against me and here I am, I am still here. I am waiting for someone to go and open a case and say you have done one, two, three ... if you move away from allegations into something factual, then I can take you head-on ... meaning I can go to court and say so and so said this," Mabuza said during his monthly question-and-answer session in the National Assembly.
"I don't know whether I look like a criminal. Do I look like a criminal?"
Agang-SA MP Molapi Plouamma then took this opportunity to interject, telling the House: "I want to help the deputy president -- he looks like a suspect."
Plouamma was ruled out of order and another MP, Belinda Bozzoli of the Democratic Alliance was ejected from the House for referring to Mabuza as corrupt and then refusing to withdraw her remark.
In the New York Times article, it is claimed, "millions of dollars for education have disappeared into a vortex of suspicious spending, shoddy public construction and brazen corruption to fuel his political ambitions, according to government records and officials in his [Mabuza's] party".
The deputy president did not address the allegations specifically, but was pushed time and again to answer whether he will be the first to step forward when President Cyril Ramaphosa's plan to subject those in government to lifestyle audits.
"I'm available, the very fact that I'm standing here, I'm going to subject myself to every requirement of this government at whatever point," he said.
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African News Agency (ANA)