Splashed across the front pages and a double-spread, the New York Times have laid into South Africa’s deputy president.
As far a public exposés go, David Mabuza has been humiliated by the New York Times this weekend, who have produced a lengthy take-down of his political record.
The article – titled “South Africa Vows to End Corruption. Are Its New Leaders Part of the Problem?” – forensically analyses the monumental scale of corruption and dodgy deals that propelled the deputy president from a high school maths teacher to becoming the second-most powerful man in the country.
The publication first focused on his meteoric rise. They blast Mabuza for his blatant corruption and claim that he took public money – intended for educational use – and spent it on his own political ambitions whilst serving as an official in Mpumalanga.
“He syphoned off money from schools and other public services to buy loyalty and amass enormous power, making him impossible to ignore on the national stage and putting him in position to shape South Africa for years to come.”
David Mabuza’s history of corruption
It was this constant abuse of the system that allowed David Mabuza to turn Mpumalanga – a relatively small province with little economic influence – into ANC central. The party hold the second-highest amount of party delegates in the country – something that came into sharp focus back in December.
While originally rooting for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to lead the ANC, Mabuza immediately switched sides when Cyril Ramaphosa sealed the nomination. Cyril knew that David’s backing was everything he needed to show a factious ANC he could represent a wide range of the population.
“He didn’t become what he is now because of his political capability. No, no, it was out of money and the manipulation. Nothing else.” – Fish Mahlalela, a senior A.N.C. figure in Mpumalanga.
What political experience does Mabuza have?
Mabuza’s championing of elite boarding schools and handpicked projects also come under the microscope. Some facilities mysteriously tripled in value at his request, yet a lot of these buildings remain dilapidated, with walls crumbling and toilets not working.
However, it is his penchant for lying and fiddling the figures that truly exposes the president’s right-hand man. His shambolic record as Education Minister for Mpumalanga is best represented by the cheating scandal of the 1990s.
With test scores down and less than half of all students matriculating, Mabuza’s province then recorded an inexplicable recovery and saw 73% of students pass their exams just 12 months later.
These alarming, incomprehensible lead to an investigation – which determined only 53% of students had actually matriculated that year.
“The doctoring had taken place inside Mr. Mabuza’s residence, where he met with a small circle of bureaucrats, some of whom were later fired, current and former A.N.C. officials said.”
“An investigation was never completed. Mr. Mabuza never admitted wrongdoing or suffered any significant consequences. Dropped as education minister, he was named the head of housing instead.” – Norimitsu Onishi and Selam Gebrekidan, NYT.