President Cyril Ramaphosa and Deputy President David Mabuza. Picture: NTSWE MOKOENA
President Cyril Ramaphosa and Deputy President David Mabuza. Picture: NTSWE MOKOENA

The metaphorical hawks, if not the perpetually dopey crime-fighting unit, seem to be circling around the country’s impossibly compromised deputy president, David Mabuza.

Given his patchy history, Mabuza was always a terrible choice for the post. But it was a political compromise, after Mabuza proved the kingmaker at the ANC’s elective conference in December last year. He was, at least, less obviously compromised than the ANC’s corruption-tinged pick for secretary-general, Ace Magashule.

But a report by the New York Times last weekend, titled "SA Vows to End Corruption. Are its New Leaders Part of the Problem?", reawakened the ghosts of Mabuza’s past. "Millions of dollars for education have disappeared into a vortex of suspicious spending, shoddy public construction and brazen corruption to fuel his political ambitions," the paper said.

This was made worse by Mabuza’s hypocrisy in repeatedly lamenting the state of education — when a quarter of his province’s schools have pit toilets, and the money to fix this has vanished. And that’s before any talk of the puzzling political assassinations in the province, or the steep rise in "irregular expenditure".

Now it seems Mabuza’s past dealings are being investigated. Could he be the albatross to President Cyril Ramaphosa, in the same way Jacob Zuma was to Thabo Mbeki?