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Deputy president Mabuza calls on political leaders to stop being divisive

Andisiwe Makinana Political correspondent
Deputy president David Mabuza during a question and answer session in parliament on Thursday.
Deputy president David Mabuza during a question and answer session in parliament on Thursday.
Image: GCIS

Deputy President David Mabuza has called on political leaders to be wary of reiterating divisive statements, including those that make corruption about the race of the perpetrators.

“It is a very unfortunate perception that corruption seems to be synonymous with blacks. It is a very heavy, loaded statement which can cause fractures in society. As members [MPs] I think we should be wary of such statements because they are very divisive,” he said.

Mabuza said it was important to “be mindful of our past, where we come from”.

“We are trying to build a nation,” he said.

Mabuza was answering questions from National Council of Provinces (NCOP) delegates on an online platform on Wednesday.

“Let us follow corruption, let us not give corruption a colour. I'm very happy that we are trying to fight corruption. But let us not give corruption a colour,” he said.

EFF MP Mmabatho Mokause had asked Mabuza about investigations that exonerated Eskom COO Jan Oberholzer, who faced allegations of corruption, nepotism and victimisation.

Mokause said it was a fact that Oberholzer was a shareholder at Stefanutti Stocks Holdings Ltd — a company that received a more than R1bn overpayment in Eskom — and that he participated in taking a decision about paying the company.

This is a clear case of corruption,” she said, adding that there was another clear case of nepotism where Oberholzer allegedly pressured a subordinate to find a job for his brother-in-law.

“We run the risk in this country of making corruption synonymous with black people because when allegations of corruption and maladministration are raised against white people, they are swept under the carpet,” said Mokause.

She asked Mabuza whether he thought it was correct to keep Oberholzer in his position and not suspend him pending the finalisation of the investigations against him.

Mabuza said the report stipulated that there were not attempts to block the investigation and those who were investigating could have called for the COO to be suspended if he was tampering with the investigation.

“But there was no such allegation that was raised by the investigating team, so the question does not arise,” he said.

Mabuza also condemned comments that were “racist in their nature” which were made around the murder of Senekal farm manager Brendin Horner last month.

“Yes, we condemn and we take a very dim view of all the utterances that seek to divide this very nation. Utterances that are racist in their nature, we condemn them whether they come from an ANC member, whether they come from a DA member or whether they come from an EFF member, we are going to condemn those,” he said.

Mabuza said, collectively, leaders had a responsibility to build a united nation and to condemn racism, gender based violence and corruption, issues that strongly affected society.