Court sets aside Mdwaba’s R5bn Thuja Capital UIF contract

The Pretoria High Court has set aside businessman Mthunzi Mdwaba’s controversial R5-billion contract with the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), declaring it unlawful.

Acting Judge Japie Maritzaritz also ordered Mdwaba to refrain from making defamatory claims against employment and Labour minister Thulas Nxesi.

Interdicted from making defamatory utterances

“The first respondent is interdicted from publicly uttering any statement to the effect that the applicant had been corrupt or extortionate when prohibiting the implementation of the contract mentioned in paragraph a) above.

“The first, second and third respondents are ordered to pay the applicant’s costs of the application. Such to include the costs of two counsel where so employed. To the extent applicable and necessary, I direct that such costs are to be taxed on scale “C”. In terms of the recently amended Rule 69,” reads the judgment.

Mdwaba to appeal ruling, cites court bias

Mdwaba has indicated that he would appeal, stating that this outcome was predetermined.

“No surprises here peeps. We knew what was coming when we walked out of court. It is very clear to see when someone has been influenced and promised God knows what?!! We shall not give up. We have been ready to appeal against evil for a while now,” he said.

Labour minister took court action to set aside deal

Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi had initiated legal action to set aside the contentious R5-billion UIF and Thuja Capital’s job-creation deal in November last year.

This after the contract was engulfed in a storm of controversy. Mdwaba was accusing high-profile figures including Nxesi of trying to solicit R500-million in bribes. These were for the project to be approved, he alleged.

The other figures implicated include ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula. He has since opened a criminal case against the businessman. Also implicated were Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande and Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana.

Nxesi vehemently denied the corruption allegations. He questioned why Mdwaba waited nearly a year to bring them forward. The minister also challenged him to prove them in court.

“I categorically deny the recent allegations of corruption. You must ask why Mdwaba waited nearly a year to come up with these allegations,” said Nxesi.

Nxesi emphasised that the key issue is the legality and validity of the Thuja deal. Also whether due processes were followed.

In breach of due processes

He claims that the agreement was concluded in breach of the Public Finance Management Act. So he filed an urgent court application to set it aside.

Nxesi suggested that Mdwaba is pushing a personal vendetta against. This is because of his previously failed attempts to secure a position. The said position was a high position in the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

“The source of Mdwaba’s bitterness towards me personally dates back to his failed attempt to secure the position of director-general of the ILO.

“When government withdrew its support for his candidacy. This after it emerged that he failed to disclose that a South African court had declared him a delinquent director of companies.

Lacked good leadership attributes

“The government was also made aware of a court judgment in the Western Cape. It had found that Mdwaba is a law breaker and was not an honest witness. [It also found that] he lacked the elementary attributes of good leadership. …This was for a position he held at the University of the Western Cape as chairperson of the council.

“There is nothing that can undermine the integrity of our democracy and the system of constitutional governance more than forged allegations that a group of cabinet ministers has in a corrupt scheme, deliberately conspired to frustrate the implementation of a viable job-creation project by demanding the payment of corrupt fees from the private service provider.”

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