Against the backdrop of a questionable relationship with South African influential family, the Guptas, Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza has moved to save his name and integrity.
Sorting out the matter with reporters, Mabuza vehemently maintained the Gupta brothers have not captured him, as widely alleged. He, however, admitted that he once hitched a lift on a Gupta-owned jet from Moscow on November 14 2015.
On an alleged business deal with Gupta-owned The New Age, the Premier maintained that he only promised to place an advertisement worth R7 billion on the newspaper, adding that his decision was not influenced by the family.
It is understood that the New Age had promised to publish a provincial edition that will carry the success stories of Mabuza’s government in three full pages – the front page, page 2 and page 3.
A written complaint presented by a whistleblower shows that two officials from The New Age made the presentation of the “doggy” deal to the provincial government communicator’s forum on September 28 at the Ehlanzeni District Municipality.
In reaction, DA provincial leader James Masango vowed that the party would not allow the Guptas to “capture” the Mpumalanga government.
Masango said: “It seems like Premier David Mabuza will finally pay back the Guptas after he hitched a lift from Moscow last year on a Gupta jet. This move by the Guptas is a clear indication that it will continue to secure lucrative contracts and strengthen their business dealings with government, despite being the subject of multiple investigations.”
Last year, Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza headlined many newspapers after he hitched a lift on a Guptas’ Bombadier Global jet from Moscow, Russia, after he was treated for poisoning.
Mabuza’s ill health started in August 2015 after he let his guard down and accepted food parcel on his birthday. The illness subsequently threw him off from work for 50 days.