File photo: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA).
File photo: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA).

Mokgalapa scandal just another example of the heady cocktail of sex and power

By Sihle Mavuso Time of article published Nov 26, 2019

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Allegations that Tshwane mayor Stevens Mokgalapa was recently caught with his pants down and having sex with a colleague, MMC for Transport Sheila Senkubuge, have brought back memories other sex scandals involving politicians and government officials. 

Some of those implicated were eventually ousted from their positions while others were merely shifted to other higher positions. 

We look at a few of the scandals, from Zwelinzima Vavi's alleged trysts with married co-workers to John Steenhuisen's alleged adultery with a DA colleague at the party’s Durban offices. 

Stevens Mokgalapa

On Sunday Mokgalapa and Senkubuge hogged headlines when an apparent audio recording of them engaging in what first started as toxic office gossip and later a sexual encounter, was leaked. Information shows that the recording was recorded late last month but it is not clear who recorded it and why. 

It is puzzling though how senior public figures like the two would allow themselves to be overcome by their sexual desires and engage in sex right inside an office when there is a always a high probability that it may be under surveillance.  

IOL reported on Monday that Mokgalapa has since laid charges of extortion and invasion of privacy against some known and unknown individuals at the Brooklyn police station as well as with the Hawks.

Zwelinzima Vavi

In 2013, Vavi, the then all powerful general secretary of the Confederation of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) was embroiled in a sex scandal where he allegedly had a “brief” sexual encounter with a married women who worked at the federation's headquarters in Johannesburg. The scandal caused a headache for Vavi who viewed it as an attempt to politically eliminate him as he was leading a campaign against the Jacob Zuma presidency and called for Cosatu to pull out of the alliance.

The scandal came to the open when the woman and her husband demanded R2 million from Vavi in order to keep quiet.  Cosatu hauled Vavi over the coals for the matter.

John Steenhuisen

In 2010, the DA’s interim national leader John Steinhuisen was at the centre of an adultery scandal. Then the leader of the KZN provincial caucus, Steenhuisen allegedly wrecked the marriage of a colleague when he dated his colleague's wife. 

When the Sunday Tribune quizzed him about the matter at the time, Steenhuisen said: “my private life is a private matter”. The affair ultimately saw Steenhuisen's wife file for divorce - nullifying a ten-year marriage.

… A quick look at some office sex scandals by lesser-known government officials 

In the KZN provincial government circles and some of its entities, office sex scandals have been reported before. Around 2013 an official based in the Pietermaritzburg office of the department of land affairs, became the talk of the town when he was allegedly caught having sex with a junior female staff member in his office.

It is not clear what happened to the female staff member but the official is still at work and is handling land claims across the province. 

Still in KZN, one of the biggest entities owned by the KZN provincial government, Ezemvelo, was around 2014 rocked by a sex scandal involving a female clerk and a senior official. The official was allegedly caught red handed having sex with the clerk and he later resigned before he could be disciplined for the scandal. 

Political Bureau

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