/ 20 March 2023

Steenhuisen a political charlatan desperate for attention – Mabuza

David Mabuza 4369 Delwyn Verasamy
Former deputy president David Mabuza. (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

The former deputy president, David Mabuza, has lashed out at Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen over the latter’s recent claims that he was the high level politician behind corruption involving Eskom. 

This is the second statement made by Mabuza. An earlier statement calling for Steenhuisen to report the allegation to the police was reported by the Sunday Times

In a statement sent to the Mail & Guardian on Sunday, Mabuza denied allegations that he was corrupt, saying that Steenhuisens accusations were baseless and exposed him as a 

“political charlatan desperate for attention”. 

“He cowardly and opportunistically chooses to make these allegations using the protected parliamentary platform in order to hide from legal sensors, because he knows very well that he is peddling libellous lies. For him to resort to such sleazy tactics, just to score cheap political points is disgraceful and undermines the stature of honourable parliamentarians.”

“By now, Mr Steenhuisen ought to be aware that each time he and his ilk have tried to use my name to further their political goals, I have repeatedly and unequivocally urged them to use all legal means at their disposal to prove or disprove their unsubstantiated claims.” 

Mabuza said the country had a robust criminal justice system to combat crime and corruption when it had been detected and charges brought against the alleged perpetrator. 

He said Steenhuisen had failed to do so and had instead smeared his name in the anticipation that something will stick.

“Steenhuisen is actively playing a leading role in undermining the faith of law-abiding South Africans in the effectiveness of our laws and the legitimacy of state institutions by continuing to engage in grandstanding, including abusing parliamentary privileges without providing law enforcement agencies with evidence to support his claims,” Mabusa said in the statement.

During a parliamentary sitting on 16 March, Steenhuisen referred to a Daily Maverick report on Eskom, which revealed that a high level ANC politician controlled all government business related to the province. 

It reported that key politicians are associated with four cartels that operate in Mpumalanga. 

“We all know who this person being referred to is. It’s Mr DD Mabuza and we all know how connected he is within the ANC,” Steenhuisen said in parliament. 

In his sharply worded response, Mabuza said the DA leader had an opportunity to bring what he knew and gathered to the state capture commission’s attention for scrutiny and for such claims to be put to the test.

The former deputy president said that even after his resignation from parliament, he was still a patriot who sought nothing less than the realisation of the constitution. 

“Steenhuisen and those who share his views are urged to utilise all legal instruments that are available to combat corruption and also to refrain from actions that could erode public confidence in the state and its ability to administer justice.” 

Last month, several publications reported that former Eskom chief executive Andre De Ruyter had sourced private investigators to track the cartels that have brought the power utility to its knees. These investigators were paid by private funders. 

They revealed a vast network, with several cabinet members allegedly also being involved and driving the syndicates.

In his interview with eNCA, De Ruyter declined to name the senior ANC politicians involved in and leading the syndicates.

He said he had “expressed my concern” to a senior government minister about what he saw as attempts to “water down governance” in the more than $8.5 billion in climate change funding.

“The response was essentially, ‘You know, you have to be pragmatic, you have to, in order to pursue the greater good, you have to enable some people to eat a little bit’,” De Ruyter said.

He said he had pointed out to a cabinet minister — since revealed to be Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan — that syndicates at Eskom were linked to a cabinet minister and a high-level politician. De Ruyter did not name those involved, citing libel concerns.