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By Ido lekota | Oct 09, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

FORMER City Press editor and now head of communications in the Presidency, Vusi Mona's chequered past has come back to haunt him.

FORMER City Press editor and now head of communications in the Presidency, Vusi Mona's chequered past has come back to haunt him.

The DA has included Mona in its "Crooked Comrade Monitor" saying his "dubious" track disqualifies him from public office.

Launched yesterday, the "Crooked Comrade Monitor" is a list of people aligned to the ANC who occupy key positions in the public service or appointed as public representatives "and have dubious track records which suggest that they are unsuited for public office".

Also included in the list is ANC MP Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Home Affairs Deputy Minister Malusi Gigaba, Social Development Deputy Minister Bathabile Dlamini and former Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang.

As City Press editor Mona was found to have a direct interest in public relations company Rainbow Kwanda Communications that was paid millions by the Mpumalanga government to rectify its scandal-ridden reputation at the time.

Mona was discredited as a journalist during the Hefer Commission after he had published a story (after it was rejected by then Sunday Times editor Mathatha Tsedu) alleging that former National Public Prosecutions director Bulelani Ngcuka was an apartheid spy.

Hefer found the allegations against Ngcuka to have no factual basis. After Mona's cross-examination, Hefer said he (Mona) had "discredited himself to such a degree in the newspaper community that he will not find it easy to procure employment in that field again".

Madikizela-Mandela's "dubious record" includes being convicted for the kidnapping of slain child activist Stompie Seipei; being found guilty on 43 counts of fraud and 25 of theft. The charges related to her obtaining loans for non-existent ANC Women's League employees. She was sentenced to five years imprisonment.

The theft charges were overturned on appeal and her sentence reduced by 18 months and suspended for five years.

In 2007 Gigaba was found to be running a "leadership academy" from his office and buying expensive flowers for his wife with State money.

Gigaba has subsequently repaid the money.

Dlamini was one of the MPs who were fingered for their involvement in the so-called Travelgate scandal.

She pleaded guilty to one count of fraud and was sentenced to a fine of R120000 or five years imprisonment and a further five years imprisonment suspended conditionally for five years.

Tshabalala-Msimang was dismissed from Botswana's Athlone Hospital in 1976 after she was convicted of stealing a watch from a patient.

A psychiatrist who subsequently pleaded for clemency for Tshabalala-Msimang argued that she was a kleptomaniac.

Also on the list is ANC MP Mnyamezeli Booi, who was also involved in Travelgate. He pleaded guilty to one charge of fraud.

He was fined R50000 or five years and given until January 2014 to repay the money in monthly instalments of R1000.

Former ANC spokesperson Jessie Duarte has also made the list for her tenure as former Gauteng safety and security MEC.

She was forced to quit after a commission of inquiry found there was a "strong suspicion" she had covered up a car accident while driving without a licence.

Yesterday DA federal council chairman James Selfe estimated the "Crooked Comrades" earned combined salaries salaries amounting to R14million.

Selfe accused the ANC of having undermined the public's faith through its deployment policy.

"... a policy that has seen political loyalty and factional interests trump merit and expertise in the appointment of people to the civil service."

He also accused the ruling party of failing to act against maladministration and that this led to "corruption being tolerated and excused".


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