Deputy President David Mabuza has appointed controversial former crime intelligence boss Mulangi Mphego as his special advisor, Mabuza’s spokesperson Thami Ngwenya has confirmed.
Mphego, a former intelligence commissioner, has a checkered past, including links to corruption charges against former president Jacob Zuma. He has also been accused of interfering with witnesses in the late former police boss Jackie Selebi’s corruption case.
Mphego also made an appearance in the book Khwezi, as the man who flirted with Zuma’s rape accuser, Fezekile Kuzwayo, while she was under police protection.
City Press newspaper reported — according to the book by Redi Tlhabi — Mphego had asked Khuzwayo to sit on his lap and that this was later used to paint her as a “loose woman” who had initiated sex with Zuma.
Mphego has denied the claim.
Ngwenya said Mphego would not be a political adviser, saying he however, “will advise on priority programmes as delegated to the deputy president”.
He was not specific on the role Mphego would occupy, but said he was part of “stakeholders that the deputy president deals with in the execution of his responsibilities especially in priority programmes assigned to him, that include HIV and Aids, land reform, engagement with traditional leadership etc”.
“General Mphego is seasoned in civil service. It must not be lost … [on] us that in such appointments, extensive process of screening in terms of character and suitability for the specific task, is conducted and this include security vetting,” Ngwenya said.
Mphego was previously identified as one of the men who “scuttled” Zuma’s corruption trial.
The Mail and Guardian reported in 2010 that, according to two independent sources, Mphego had provided Zuma with the so called “spy tapes” which included conversations between former Scorpions boss Leonard Mcarthy and former director of public prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka.
The tapes led to then-NPA head Mokotedi Mpshe dropping the charges against Zuma in 2009, claiming political interference.
However, after long legal battle spearheaded by the Democratic Alliance, the courts found the decision to drop the charges based on the so called spy tapes was “irrational”.
Zuma is now currently facing charges of corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court.
Mphego was head of intelligence during former president Thabo Mbeki’s tenure and was forced to resign in 2009 after he was accused of interfering with state witnesses in Selebi’s corruption trial.
A case of defeating the ends of justice against Mphego was later struck off the roll.
When asked if Mabuza had taken Mphego’s past into account, Ngwenya responded: “Nothing untoward that would undermine his contribution to the work of building a prosperous nation has been brought to the attention of the office of the deputy president.
“As things stand, we are looking forward to him joining and bolstering the team of the office of the deputy president and we are confident that he will make the work of government effective,” Ngwenya said. — News24