/ 19 March 2024

Mahlobo mum on inclusion in ANC election list despite state capture allegations

Former Minister David Mahlobo Testifies At State Capture
Former State Security Minister David Mahlobo testifies at the Zondo Commission on April 09, 2021 in Johannesburg. (Photo by Gallo Images/Papi Morake)

The deputy minister of water and sanitation, David Mahlobo, has once again received the green light to serve in the ANC’s national structure despite a state capture cloud hanging over his head and pushback to have him and others disqualified.  

Mahlobo’s name was among those at the top of the list of candidates, sitting comfortably at number 13 of 200 names submitted to the Electoral Commission of South Africa  (IEC).   

Speaking to the Mail & Guardian on the sidelines of an ANC media briefing on Monday, he refused to answer questions about his candidacy. “I am not going to discuss the issue of the lists. We are concentrating on serious issues [the water crisis]; we do not want other issues.”

He would also not comment on the reaction of the ANC Veterans’ League and others who oppose those implicated in wrongdoing holding public office.

“I will also not discuss the internal debate of the ANC,” he said.

Evidence before the state capture commission suggested that Mahlobo, when he was state security minister, had large amounts of cash delivered to him on several occasions, and it appeared that he was part of a plan to advance the interests of former president Jacob Zuma. Mahlobo has denied the claims.  

The commission’s chairperson, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, said in his report that the evidence regarding Mahlobo’s involvement was “quite detailed, given project by project” and “overwhelming”.

Zondo recommended that law enforcement agencies further investigate with a view to the National Prosecuting Authority possibly bringing criminal charges against Mahlobo.

At the briefing on Monday, Mahlobo said he understood the “agitation” experienced by people in being denied their basic right to water, especially in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

In  some parts of Johannesburg, residents have gone up to two weeks without water after several power outages at Rand Water’s Eikenhof pump station.

Eikenhof supplies half of the city with water, and as a result of three power outages from 3 to 10 March, systems in Soweto, Randburg, Roodepoort and south and central Johannesburg have had water outages.

Mahlobo said the Eikenhof pump station was struck by lightning, which took more than three days to fix and thereafter a power feed went down.

Mahlobo said technical teams in KwaZulu-Natal and Johannesburg were meeting twice a day to monitor the system and the common denominator in the metros was that water losses were high.

“In Johannesburg we lose more 44%, either through the infrastructure being old, illegal connections and clean water that is lost [through leaks]. We have agreed that maintenance teams should be on the ground to respond positively,” he said.

Mahlobo said billions of rand were needed to reduce the water losses. “Johannesburg Water needs R27 billion just to ensure that these disruptions and failures are not there. We know that Rand Water has spent about R40 billion of their own money, and we have increased our pump stations so that people will be able to get water.”

He also called on the political leaderships of the struggling municipalities to communicate with the public about the water crisis.

“If they run away, citizens are in the dark and they don’t know when water is going to be returning. When water is provided in a temporary measure, irrespective of which municipality, the temporary measure must not become permanent.”

“In other words, when you use water cutting, they must get the water from points where the water quality can be guaranteed that the water is good.The water must never be sold, there’s a black market of selling water, it must not happen.”

He urged residents to use water sparingly.