Gwede Mantashe responded yesterday after a news website published salacious Whatsapp exchanges allegedly between Mantashe and a woman described as 23-year-old Unisa student. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency
Durban - ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe has dismissed the “sexting” scandal allegedly involving him and a 23-year-old woman student as just a deflection ahead of the ANC’s national conference which kicks off at the weekend.

Mantashe was responding yesterday after WeeklyXpose, a news website, published salacious Whatsapp exchanges allegedly between Mantashe and a woman described as a 23-year-old Unisa student.

Mantashe’s number is clearly visible on the screenshots of the message exchanges published by the website. When approached for comment Mantashe said: “I do not want to talk sex now, I want to discuss conference. It is a deflection.”

He would not confirm if the messages were legitimate. “It is a deflection,” he retorted.

According to the website, owned by flamboyant businessman Kenny Kunene, the WhatsApp exchanges between Mantashe and the woman “started when she erroneously sent Mantashe pictures from her modelling portfolio which she intended to send to a modelling agency.”

The report further quotes the Whatsapp exchanges and one where Mantashe allegedly requested the woman to send him pictures of her vagina.

Blurred pictures, allegedly sent to Mantashe by the woman, who is named in the article, were also published on the site yesterday.

Mantashe is the latest high-ranking official of the ANC to be embroiled in an alleged scandal involving younger women.

The Minister in Presidency, Jeff Radebe had to apologise publicly after it emerged that he had send raunchy text messages to a young female photographer.

In September, the Sunday Independent reported about deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s alleged extramarital affairs with eight young women.

WeeklyXpose published some sexually explicit videos which had been allegedly sent to Ramaphosa by one of the women.

Ramaphosa, in a newspaper article, denied that he was a blesser and said he had had an affair which ended years earlier.

Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni said the sex scandals rocking the ANC were a reflection of a moral degenerative state of a political organisation and were also a sign of a moral crisis in society.