Gwede Mantashe sex scandal: time for Ramaphosa to sanitize his cabinet

The South African Minister of Mineral and Energy Resources, Gwede Mantashe is facing media backlash for his recent admission that he paid two South African journalists the sum of R70,000 to expunge all evidence of sexual relationship between him and a young, University of South Africa (UNISA) student. This brazen admission to an act which also equals a crime came as a shock to many, especially the South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF). The group condemned the action of the Minister and former labour leader and threatened to set up an inquiry that will thoroughly investigate the incident.

The action of the Minister came at a time the president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa reiterated that ANC members will no longer be able to get away with any wrongdoing in the party. Mantashe’s alleged actions may land him before the Ethical Committee of the South African Parliament. However, Mantashe is not the only culprit here, the young lady that was at the centre of the sex scandal also mentioned another ANC member, the current Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni among those she has had sexual relationships with. Both ministers might be relieved of their duties if found guilty, in line with the anti-Corruption stance of President Ramaphosa. 

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Sex scandals are not new within the ANC caucus as there have been many such cases in the past. Let us take a look at some of the sex allegations that have bedevilled the ANC and her members:

David Masondo

The Deputy Minister of Finance has had his fair share of sex allegations. In September 2019, the Minister was accused of forcing a woman he got pregnant to have an abortion. It was alleged that the woman wanted to blackmail the Minister with the pregnancy which did not go well with him.

Malusi Gigaba

The former Minister of Home Affairs and former Member of Parliament was in the news last year, not just for his controversial resignation from the Cabinet but also for his sex tape that got leaked. Internet was agog in South Africa when the 48-year-old former Parliamentarian was seen in a video performing a solo sexual act. He admitted to being the one in the video which he claimed was meant for his wife’s exclusive consumption and dismissed it as a blackmail attempt from an extortionist. He apologised and the scandal died down.

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Zizi Kodwa

Last year, a woman came out to accuse the Deputy Minister of State Security of drugging and raping her in a hotel. The woman disclosed that she was dissuaded from establishing a criminal case from the incident. However, Minister labelled the allegation political blackmail.

Pule Mabe

The ANC spokesperson was dragged by his Personal Assistance for sexual harassment. ANC conducted an internal hearing into the matter and the result saw Mabe being cleared of the allegations. He resumed his duties afterwards.

Tito Mboweni

The Minister of Finance is leading the long list of ANC members who have been associated with sexual scandals. Earlier this month, the minister initiated an action against a woman whom he claimed was threatening to leak their private conversation after he failed to yield to her money demand. Again, his name has been dragged in the latest Mantashe sex scandal by the 26-year-old UNISA student who also claimed she sleeps with Minister Mboweni.

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With all the numerous sex scandals affecting the members of the African National Congress, the president and head of the party, Cyril Ramaphosa should know it is time to act. The allegations should no longer be handled with kids gloves. Independent investigations and inquiries should be carried out to ascertain the credibility or otherwise of these accusations. If Mantashe is found guilty, he should not only be sacked but also made to face the wrath of the law for bribery and an attempt to gag the press. Otherwise, it will reduce President Ramaphosa’s anti-corruption mantra to a mere trifle.

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