The country’s second-biggest trade union federation, Saftu, failed to detect that its rogue national spokesman was out on bail for two pending cases of rape when he was appointed –
even though there were media reports about the cases.
The federation’s process of hiring senior staff came under scrutiny after the organisation fired its spokesman, Ntozakhe Douglas Mthukwane, who is facing several cases of rape.
On Friday, Saftu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said it had withdrawn Mthukwane’s appointment following a background check.
Saftu appointed the controversial former Northern Cape freelance journalist in October last year.
In June – three months before Saftu appointed Mthukwane – he appeared in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on three charges of rape after allegedly raping a 33-year-old woman.
Investigating officer Sergeant Charlotte Mokgari told the court the alleged rape took place at Mthukwane’s flat in Beaconsfield, Kimberley, and that Mthukwane was out on bail for two other cases of rape.
Vavi said Mthukwane was appointed as national spokesman pending a security and background check.
“The first check showed that there had been articles covering his rape trials. On further check, we discovered an alarming pattern of rape allegations. He was charged for rape and pointing a firearm in 2016; he is on bail and on trial. He was charged for rape in 2018; he is on bail and on trial.
He was charged for rape in 2019; he is on bail and on trial. He was convicted of [aempted] rape in 1995.”
Vavi said the letter of appointment stated the organisation would do a background and criminal record check and it reserved the right to retract the appointment should anything come up.
Mthukwane could not be reached for comment.
By George Matlala