Leave my family alone – angry Mantashe on state contract lies

Gwede Mantashe, minister of mineral resources and energy, says he has had enough of the accusation that his wife Nolwandle and son Buyambo are using his influence to transact with the state. 

In reality, Mantashe asserted, the “evil” individuals attempting to use his family as a weapon against him must leave his wife and four children alone because they have no ties to the state. 

Mantashe said this in a wide-ranging interview with Sunday World Engage on Tuesday last week. 

There were media reports linking his wife to catering contracts at Eskom, among other controversies. 

Just two years ago, the Mail & Guardian reported how Nolwandle allegedly meddled in a mining rights saga for a manganese mine in the Northern Cape. 

In 2015, while Mantashe was ANC secretary-general, Nolwandle and Buyambo were reported to have been involved in the half a billion rands toilet tender scandal in the Eastern Cape. 

Recently, there were rumours that Eskom’s power deal with the Turkish company Karpowership would benefit one of his family members, thought to be Buyambo. 

Mantashe dismissed all these as hogwash meant to malign his good name, saying his family members were all independent of him and were living their lives far from him. 

He was never going to allow “false allegations” against his family to get credence, which is what he believes is the intention of those who are feeding the rumour mill. “I get accused of many things everywhere. One time I was told that my wife has a catering contract at Eskom for R620-million. I said, but this person cannot cook for two of us, how can she cook for thousands of workers at Eskom? 

“What is this thing? People were mischievous because if you say I have a contract, it’s easy to go and verify that contract. I have accepted that allegations are part of leadership, but what should never happen is that they must never find credence.” 

Mantashe said it was for this reason that he had told his four children, as young as 10, to go to school so they didn’t depend on his political career. As a result, he continued, all four had post-matric qualifications in various sectors, while his wife was also highly qualified. 

“I have a wife; her basic qualification is a general nurse, highly qualified, even in ICU, and all those things; she has two sociology degrees; she is independent of me. I have four kids, one has a degree and postgraduate qualification, and my daughter has a master’s in property management and development. Buyambo has a master’s in agricultural economics, and my last born has just completed her degree now. 

“You know why? When they’re as young as 10, I told them that politics is a flavour of the time; go to school so that you can stand on your own and you don’t depend on my political career because when it collapses, you all collapse. I don’t have a single child who works for the state. They are good in their professions out there.” 

According to him, the criticism that politicians’ children must not do business with the state was grossly unfair. 

“Now this thing of trying to catch me and making all these allegations against my family is just evil, in my view. 

“So, what I don’t accept is that when you’re the child of a politician, you must be dumb. Kids must be themselves! I don’t have a child who works for the state as a choice. I don’t think it must be a rule; it must be a choice.” 

Mantashe said another matter that puzzled him was people who insisted that the Zondo commission made a finding against him. “The Zondo commission said it couldn’t find any prima facie evidence of any wrongdoing or corruption in my case, but they made a strange recommendation and said another institution may find it. I don’t know what institution. 

“I would imagine that it’s something else, not necessarily law enforcement. To me, it does not make sense that if a commission doesn’t find a prima facie case, it then says another institution must look for it.” 

  • For the full interview please visit www.sundayworld.co.za

Visit SW YouTube Channel for our video content

Latest News