Mboweni entangled in extortion saga

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is embroiled in an extortion drama involving a student and a prominent businessman with connections in the ANC.

Sunday World can reveal that Mboweni has written letters to Thulani Majola and Asanda Viwe in connection with allegation of extortion.

Majola is the CEO of LTE Consulting, the controversial company that scored millions of rand from the Water and Sanitation Department.

The letters to the two were penned after Mboweni received WhatsApp messages from Viwe in which she wants him to pay R7 000 for her rent and an outstanding registration fee at a Cape Town tertiary institution, apparently in exchange for not releasing text and recorded conversations with the minister.

In a text message that Viwe sent to Mboweni, which Sunday World has seen, she says Majola was pushing her to release the material for R100 000.

“You are a very kind and sweet man. So I can’t do this to you. I was asked by Majola to expose our conversations and voice recordings for R100k. At first I agreed, as I was desperate. But after looking at your profile picture, my heart wouldn’t let me do so,” she wrote.

She said she feared Majola and that the man could do anything to tarnish the minister’s image. She had not told Majola that she was no longer going ahead with the plan to give him the material for the R100 000 payment, she said.

But, surprisingly, she wanted the money in cash, and asked Mboweni to send one of his “guys” to drop it off.

“As for Thulani, I will handle him myself,” she added. Mboweni received questions from Sunday World three weeks ago but the story leaked once he received confirmation that Sunday World is publishing this weekend.

Mboweni, through his lawyer Jerome Levitz of Fluxmans Attorneys, said they have addressed a “cease and desist” letter to Viwe.

“Our client has received a WhatsApp from Ms Viwe requesting our client to pay R7 000 towards her rent and registration fee. Our client views Ms Viwe’s WhatsApps as an attempt to extort money from him,” Levitz said.

Mboweni insisted that he never had a romantic relationship with Viwe. Levitz said they have addressed a letter to Majola “advising him of Ms Viwe’s allegations pertaining to him and calling him to deny the allegations”.

Majola denied he is the one Mboweni wrote to. He said he has not received a letter from Mboweni and doesn’t know Viwe.

“I have absolutely no knowledge of the matter and don’t want to be associated with these lies,” he said. Sunday World has seen the letter sent to Majola’s PA, Thobile, at 3.32pm on Friday.

But more than three hours later, Majola still denied that his PA received the letter. Sunday World verified Majola’s e-mail and that of his PA. In the letter, Levitz says Mboweni received a WhatsApp message from Viwe saying Majola had asked her to expose their conversations for R100 000.

“Our client is taking these allegations extremely seriously and is investigating same. Our client has requested us to advise you of the aforementioned allegation and to invite you to comment thereon and to confirm Viwe’s allegations are false,” the letter reads. Viwe could not be reached for comment.

By George Matlala

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