President Cyril Ramaphosa withdraws three national orders

Muvhango Creator Duma Ndlovu. Picture: Babili Maseko

Muvhango Creator Duma Ndlovu. Picture: Babili Maseko

Published Apr 23, 2023


Three popular South Africans will no longer be conferred with the most prestigious awards in the country.

This follows an announcement by the Presidency on Sunday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office said the decision followed apparent backlash from some members of the public.

“Following objections from various sectors of society and on the recommendation of the National Orders Advisory Council (NOAC), Ramaphosa has accepted the withdrawal of three nominees who were nominated to receive respective orders in a ceremony scheduled to take place on Friday, 28 April 2023 in Pretoria,” it said.

Those who have now been given the snub include renowned veteran TV and film producer Duma Ndlovu of the popular “Muvhango” and “Imbewu” soapies among others, journalist and radio and TV presenter Freek Robinson as well as South African-born Swiss professional explorer and adventurer Mike Horn.

Michael Horn. Picture: purvitae
Freek Robinson.

They were part of the 35 South African and foreign nationals who were due to receive the awards in a few days time.

A report by a Sunday tabloid indicated that the ANC Veterans’ League was against Ndlovu receiving the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver.

It reported that the League was “disappointed with the decision” citing Ndlovu’s alleged “involvement in the capture of the SA Revenue Service (Sars) when Jacob Zuma was the head of state”.

The report says “Ndlovu is accused of being part of a team of advisers that supported the former president, which is said to have laid the groundwork for the state capture project”.

It is understood that the League then wrote a letter to the chancellor of the national orders asking that the decision be revoked until Ndlovu cleared his name against the allegations.

Meanwhile, Horn was set to receive a bronze Order of Ikhamanga for his contribution to action and endurance sport, which has earned him a reputation as one of the ‘greatest living explorers’ of our time.

Horn recently was blasted over his revelation that he was part of the military during the apartheid era in the 1980s.

He was quoted as saying: “I was part of the official forces of the South African army at the time. I was doing my compulsory military service there. I strictly obeyed the orders given to me.”

In defence of his military past he indicated that it was a “long time ago” and that his life had taken a different turn since then.

The army in which Horn was part of was held responsible for being behind a massacre at a meeting of Swapo (an armed rebel group fighting for the independence of Namibia) in the Namibian capital Windhoek.

It is unclear if Horn's military past was the main reason behind the withdrawal and who submitted the objection.

The Presidency also did not go into further details pertaining to Robinson’s objection.

Ramaphosa's spokesperson Vincent Magwenya in the meantime said: “To uphold the integrity of National Orders, the NOAC will further adopt measures to strengthen the selection process.

“These measures include a workshop which will be undertaken by council members at the end of April 2023.

“Timelines of the selection process will also be reviewed.”

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