Thuja Holdings CEO Mthunzi Mdwaba welcomes legal action after he alleged Cabinet ministers, Mbalula tried to solicit R500 million bribe

Former Productivity South Africa chairperson and Thuja Capital CEO Mthunzi Mdwaba during an interview on eNCA. Picture: Screengrab

Former Productivity South Africa chairperson and Thuja Capital CEO Mthunzi Mdwaba during an interview on eNCA. Picture: Screengrab

Published Nov 24, 2023


Thuja Holdings Chief Executive Office Mthunzi Mdwaba, who accused three Cabinet ministers and African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general, Fikile Mbalula of trying to solicit a R500 million bribe from him, has stuck to his story, despite threats of legal action.

Mdwaba released a statement on Friday morning, following a media briefing by Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi the day before.

Nxesi revealed he had now approached the courts to not only set aside the business deal between Thuja Holdings and the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), but to also defend the allegations that he and others solicited a R500 million bribe from Mdwaba.

The public spat stemmed from the R5 billion agreement between Thuja Holdings and the UIF which was concluded in December 2022; however, Nxesi called for the suspension of the Thuja Capital Fund Project after it had been brought into question by media reports.

In early November, Mdwaba publicly alleged that “middle-men” attempted to facilitate a R500 million bribe on behalf of Nxesi, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, and Mbalula.

Responding to points raised during Nxesi’s briefing, Mdwaba released a statement saying he and Thuja Holdings maintained their confidence in the accuracy of their allegations.

“We maintain that we have a valid agreement and shall respond accordingly upon receipt of the ‘urgent application’ to set aside our valid agreement,” Mdwaba said.

“With reference to allegations by me against him (Nxesi) and the other three (Godongwana, Nzimande and Mbalula), our goal is to ensure transparency and accountability in matters of public interest, and we are confident in the validity of our reports.”

He said they were also made aware of an investigation currently under way, which covered all aspects of the UIF and Department of Employment and Labour, Thuja’s agreement and any allegations of malfeasance made by Nxesi.

Mdwaba also responded to Nxesi’s comments that the source of Mdwaba’s bitterness towards him personally dated back to Mdwaba’s failed attempt to secure the position of Director General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), when government withdrew its support for his candidature after it emerged that he failed to disclose that the South African courts had declared him to be a delinquent director.

“The courts assigned me delinquent director status is 2012, and I have consistently accepted full responsibility for it. This status had a seven-year legal duration which terminated in 2019,” Mdwaba said.

“Nevertheless, some individuals including Nxesi continue to utilise this as a mechanism for disparaging me,” he said.

“Even with the progress I have made in my career and the international acclaim I have received, this still persists as an identifier.”

Mdwaba further confirmed they had received two letters - one from Mbalula and one from Godongwana - regarding allegations made against them.

He said his attorneys wrote back stating that they stood by their allegations and welcomed any kind of action they decided on.

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