Minister Blade Nzimande lays criminal complaint against Mthunzi Mdwaba over corruption claims

Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / Independent Newspapers

Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / Independent Newspapers

Published Nov 28, 2023


The Higher Education Minister, Blade Nzimande, has laid a criminal complaint against businessman and Thuja Capital CEO, Mthunzi Mdwaba, at the Brooklyn Police Station for his failure to report corruption to law enforcement authorities.

This is in relation to the allegations that Mdwaba made earlier this month against Nzimande and three other ministers who allegedly attempted to seek a bribe of R500 million from him.

Mdwaba alleged that Nzimande, Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana, and the ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula were among those who sought to bribe him to give the green light to his R5 billion tender with the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).

All the ministers, including Mbalula, denied the allegations and threatened legal action against Mdwaba if he did not issue a statement of apology to all of them.

They all denied the allegations and said they were false and defamatory.

Addressing the media outside the police station, Nzimande stood by his word to say the allegations were a blue lie.

“I have come here to open a criminal case against Mthunzi Mdwaba, who has come up with allegations that I and a few of my other colleagues asked for a bribe from him. This is a lie, a blue lie, actually; there is no such thing, and I never sent anyone,” Nzimande said.

According to the minister, Mdwaba’s team asked him why he did not open a case against ministers, and he responded that he didn’t trust the law enforcement agencies.

Nzimande said this was very strange for someone who claimed to be a lawyer, a professor, and a businessman as well.

He said that the allegations had the potential to damage his credibility as a politician, but stated that this was just a fuss and that this story was not true.

He said he did not want to leave the matter hanging, especially now that the 2024 general elections were looming.

However, Nzimande mentioned that this was a smear campaign against him, the ANC, and the South African Communist Party (SACP).

“He has never come to me to say, Nzimande, have you sent someone for this money? But he goes out to the media and mentions me, but he can’t mention the people he says I sent,” he said.

Nzimande said this was a clear indication that it was just a campaign. He also denied that he worked with Mdwaba anywhere.

“We might have bumped into each other in forums or other activities, but I have no relationship with the guy,” Nzimande said.

Nzimande added that Mdwaba must account for his allegations.