Nxesi’s case against Mdwaba postponed to January 2024

The civil matter between businessman Mthunzi Mdwaba’s Thuja Holdings and the Department of Employment and Labour has been postponed to January 25.

Mdwaba appeared in the Pretoria High Court on Wednesday in a matter brought by labour Minister Thulas Nxesi in November.

Nxesi approached the court in an urgent application to have the contentious Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and Thuja Holdings R5-billion job-creation deal set aside.

The minister raised concerns about the deal’s legality and validity, arguing that it was concluded in breach of the Public Finance Management Act.

Bribery allegations

This after Mdwaba accused the minister and other high-profile figures of trying to solicit R500-million in bribes for the project to be approved.

Those he implicated include ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula, who has since opened a criminal case against the businessman, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, and Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana.

The UIF agreement to fund a job-creation initiative run by Thuja Holdings has been scrutinised for its alleged rapid approval including the fact that former director-general Thobile Lamati overruled the objections of some of his subordinates.

Reports suggest that some senior Department of Employment and Labour officials were determined to push the deal through despite it being untested, which Mdwaba disputed.

Court proceedings

During the brief proceedings on Wednesday, Mdwaba’s lawyers requested a postponement so they could prepare a response to the minister’s allegations as mentioned in his affidavit.

The lawyers told Sunday World that they only received the affidavit last week and feel they have not had enough time to go through it and prepare a fitting response to help them with the case.

They explained that the papers were not sent out late, but they were delivered to the wrong address leading to the delayed response.

“We have agreed that we are not ready to proceed. The applicant, the minister wanted the matter to be heard yesterday or sometime this week, but our client was served with the papers late,” said Mdwaba’s lawyer Khumisi Kganare.

“We need time to prepare our answers and they will also need time to reply to our answering affidavit.

“There is more than one respondent in this case, they will also need to prepare, it is a very lengthy process.

“The judge said she will not rule on the urgency [of the matter]. She will leave it for the next judge to deal with it.”

Mdwaba points to a vendetta

It was recently revealed that the leaked N Gawula Incorporated forensic report that allegedly exposed irregularities in the finalisation of the Thuja deal – which those implicated have demanded – will not form part of the court record.

This is despite Nxesi boldly claiming that the forensic report, which was his smoking gun, would be included in court papers, only to be corrected by his acting director-general Alec Moemi that the document remains under wraps.

Speaking to Sunday World outside court, Mdwaba questioned why the report is being concealed, arguing that it should be made public and form part of public records. 

“This is a vendetta, Nxesi has a vendetta against me and I do not know why. What is so big that we cannot solve it and may slaughter a cow for truce sake if need be,” said Mdwaba.

Despite being ready for the proceedings on Wednesday, Mdwaba is confident that he will win the case.

“For me, it is not about if I win, it is about when I win. When the truth is on your side and you know you’ve worked hard to get to this point, you know you are winning.”

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