Man now faces HIV+ charge

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

A high-ranking Mpumalanga government official faces a charge of attempted murder for allegedly infecting his former girlfriend with HIV.

The man, aged 46, is wanted by the Douglasdale police, north of Johannesburg, after his former girlfriend Nomusa Zwane* laid charges against him last month.

Douglasdale police case controller, Eric Mkhari, has confirmed the incident.

"Yes, we can confirm that the suspect is facing a charge of attempted murder after the complainant laid a complaint against him alleging that he infected her with HIV," said Mkhari at the weekend.

Zwane, 40, from Fourways, north of Johannesburg, claims in her statement that the official had sex with her without a condom when he knew he was HIV-positive.

"I believe he knew full well that he was infected. After we had unprotected sex I became suspicious because I noticed he had a persistent cough. He had blisters all over his private parts," said Zwane.

She said what really alerted her was a call from the wife of a friend of the official.

"She said she wanted to tell me that one of the official's girlfriends from Mpumalanga had recently died from an HIV- related illness," said Zwane.

The woman went for an HIV test and found out that she was positive.

"This official is the first man I've slept with without protection in a long time. I am a person who has always been conscious of my status and I was HIV-negative all along.

"I regret what happened and I'm coming out loud so other women can learn from what happened to me," she said .

Zwane said she had tried to get the official to check his status, but he refused. The relationship has since turned sour.

The official confirmed the relationship with Zwane, but said he was not aware of any charges against him.

"I was not aware that I am a wanted man. I'm not even aware of my status. This means I need to go and check because it is true that I had a relationship with the woman," said the official.

lMeanwhile, the Mpumalanga police are looking into the possible involvement of the official in a conspiracy to murder Sowetan Mpumalanga bureau chief Riot Hlatshwayo two weeks ago.

Hlatshwayo had met with the official at the KaNyamazane petrol station. Hardly 20 minutes after he left four armed men followed Hlatshwayo and fired shots at him. He was slightly injured.

"We cannot divulge any details at this stage," said Lowveld police spokesman Mtsholi Bhembe.

* Not her real name