Close-up Photo of a Wooden Gavel. Representational Image.
Close-up Photo of a Wooden Gavel. Representational Image. Sora Shimazaki/

The minister of Employment and Labour, Thulas Nxesi, on Thursday denied corruption allegations made by Thuja Holdings CEO in the R5 billion Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) jobs deal.

Mthunzi Mdwaba, the CEO of Thuja Holdings, had made allegations against Nxesi earlier this month regarding the R5 billion agreement made in December between UIF and Thuja Holdings. Mdwaba accused the minister alongside other high-ranking government officials of trying to get a bribe from him.

However, the minister said the R5 billion agreement was signed without the knowledge of the National Treasury.

"Today, I signed my affidavit in support of various orders, chief amongst being the setting aside of the agreement. I have brought this application on an urgent basis," he said, SA News reported.

He also challenged the businessman in the affidavit to present evidence to support his allegations.

If Mdwaba failed to produce any evidence, then the minister requested the court to stop the businessman from promoting "false and unsupported lies" against him.

"In simple terms, I have taken the decision to have the agreement concluded by the UIF with Mdwaba set aside, because it was concluded in breach of section 54(2) of the PFMA [Public Finance Management Act]," the minister said.

"Mr Mdwaba's allegations of seeking bribes against myself, and others, are false and unsupported by any actual evidence."

The minister went on to question why the allegations were made nearly one year after the supposed incident took place. He added "Mdwaba will now have to prove these allegations in a court of law."

Nxesi also questioned the deal made last year, asking "whether the deal is legal and valid, and [whether] due processes were followed in terms of the law."

"This is an issue to be settled by the court. Mdwaba's 10% bribe allegation will also be placed on record and subjected to the scrutiny of the court."

Aside from this, an anonymous individual claimed last week that Nxesi and the former Director-General of the department, Thobile Lamati, illegally siphoned R3 billion from Labour Activation Programmes 11 programs.

Nxesi addressed this allegation also, saying, "On the last issue of R3 billion, I am happy that this will be investigated by law enforcement agencies to establish the processes followed and the roles of all parties concerned."

"To this end, I have instructed all staff members to fully cooperate with state agencies investigating the matter."

These allegations came ahead of general elections, which will be held in the first half of 2024, marking the seventh election since the end of the apartheid era in 1994.