ANC SG Fikile Mbalula to lay charges against Mdwaba over accusations of soliciting R500 million bribe

ANC SG Fikile Mbalula to lay charges against Mdwaba over accusations of soliciting R500 million bribe. Picture: EPA/SUMAYA HISHAM

ANC SG Fikile Mbalula to lay charges against Mdwaba over accusations of soliciting R500 million bribe. Picture: EPA/SUMAYA HISHAM

Published Nov 8, 2023


ANC secretary general Fikile Mbalula has threatened to lay charges against Thuja Capital CEO, Mthunzi Mdwaba, over allegations that he and three Cabinet members attempted to solicit a bribe of R500 million from him.

On Wednesday, Mbalula indicated that he will be laying charges of crimen injuria against Mdwaba who has accused him alongside the ministers of Labour, Finance and Health of having approached him with the intention to get their hands on R500 million from the proceeds of R5 billion his company would have received to kick-start a jobs project from a UIF jobs scheme.

“The secretary general of the ANC, Fikile Mbalula, will open a crimen injuria case against Mthunzi Mdwaba at the Sandton police station. The secretary general will read out a short statement after laying the charges,” reads an ANC statement circulated on social media.

On Sunday, “Sunday World” claimed that three ministers, including Minister of Employment and Labour (DEL) Thulas Nxesi, approached Thuja Capital CEO Mthunzi Mdwaba in a bid to secure “gateway fees” of R500 million from a R5 billion UIF deal, which he had secured as seed capital to create employment for 250 000 people.

Nxesi has dismissed claims by Mdwaba of being the mastermind of the bribery scheme to secure a bribe of R500 million.

Mdwaba alleged that the three ministers approached him, demanding R500 million for a R5 billion tender deal he was aiming to secure with the Unemployment Insurance Fund.

Mdwaba, who is the former University of the Western Cape (UWC) Council chairperson, accused Blade Nzimande, Nxesi, Enoch Godongwana as well as ANC secretary general Mbalula of trying to solicit a 10% bribe for the “now failed UIF R5 billion deal”.

He said the ministers approached him through intermediaries to try to secure the bribe which he described as gateway fees. He told “Sunday World” that when he refused, things started to fall apart.

He also alleged that Nzimande wanted to remove him as council chairman of UWC at the time, but failed.

Mdwaba said he was approached by three high-ranking government officials who solicited the bribe, claiming they were sent by the implicated ministers.

“I said ‘10% is R500 million’. That is, like, three or four projects. And I must give it to ministers? I said no; please wait. Are you crazy’?”

Mdwaba added that even after the middlemen had negotiated their terms down to 5%, he still refused. “I said ‘no, what value are you adding to the project? I’m confused’.”

ANC spokesperson, Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri promised to get back to "The Star“ after a meeting she was presenting to. “Good day Siyabonga. I am in a meeting and about to present. I will call you back soon after,” she said.

Spokesperson for the minister of higher education, Ishmael Mnisi, said Minister Nzimande has never been involved in the alleged extortion claim.

“Minister Nzimande dismisses these allegations with the contempt they deserve. The minister’s rights are reserved in this regard,’ Mnisi said.

Godongwana’s spokesperson, Mfuneko Toyana, said the minister has no comment on the allegations.

“Please note that minister has no comment on the allegations.“

On Monday, Nxesi in a statement by his spokesperson, Sabelo Mali, slammed the allegations.

“We are aware of the new claims attributable to Mdwaba in the ‘Sunday World’, and reject them with contempt as false and without foundation. The allegations are completely unsupported by facts or any piece of evidence,” Mali said.

Nxesi indicated that Mdwaba had provided no facts or proof to support his claims. “There is mention of three Cabinet ministers, but no names are given.

“In any case, this matter would not have been decided at Cabinet level. Mdwaba speaks about being approached by middlemen for a bribe, but again no details are given,” Nxesi said.

On Tuesday, the DA’s spokesperson on employment and labour, Michael Cardo, called on Nxesi to come out and clear his name.

“The minister should respond to the explosive allegation that he – along with two other ministers – attempted to solicit a 10% kickback on the dodgy R5bn UIF/Thuja Capital job-creation deal,” Cardo said.

ActionSA spokesperson Lerato Ngobeni has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to launch an SIU investigation into the allegations that three ministers solicited a R500 million bribe from Mdwaba.

Ngobeni said the party will be writing to the president, urging him to lodge an SIU investigation into the matter allegedly involving the three ministers.

“If Ramaphosa is, at all, committed to this ‘renewal’ he has been touting since his ascension to the Presidency, he must do the right thing and fire Thulas Nxesi at once and suspend the other two alleged conspirators pending the outcome of a further probe into their involvement,“ Ngobeni said.