South African politicians are well-acquainted with making headlines for the good, the bad and everything in between. Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini famously said that most politicians have 'smallanyana skeletons' lurking. It would appear she may have been on to something -- every week, our politicians find a new way to surprise the South Africans they serve.
1. Bathabile Dlamini
The Sassa scandal stands as Dlamini's top infamous moment in the headlines. Reports by amaBhungane earlier this year revealed illegal dealings by Dlamini concerning the contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS). Dlamini authorised CPS to maintain the contract to give out social grants regardless of a Constitutional Court ruling in 2014, which declared the contract invalid. A division of CPS, Net1, won the Sassa tender to distribute grant payments in 2012. ConCourt ordered Sassa to reissue the tender by October 2015 as it had been "irregular".
Another top moment for Dlamini was "Travelgate" scandal in the early 2000s when a number of ANC MPs were prosecuted for fraud after evidence of abuse of Parliament's travel system surfaced. Dlamini was one of the biggest offenders, pleading guilty of fraud after claiming benefits amounting to R254,000.
2. Faith Muthambi
Public Service and Administration Minister Faith Muthambi made headlines for putting family first. According to Sunday Times reports, Muthambi allegedly hired family members as part of her support staff. The reports further alleged that the Minister spent R300,000 on a trip for 30 friends and family to Cape Town for her budget speech.
3. Fikile Mbalula
The social media-savvy Police Minister Fikile Mbalula made headlines after Eyewitness News (EWN) revealed how sporting company, Sedgars, paid for at least part of Mbalula's R680,000 trip to Dubai with his family. Sedgars reportedly supplies clothing to Sascoc and the South African Olympic team. Mbalula's spokesperson denied the allegations to News24, saying Mbalula "basically" paid for the trip himself.
4. Malusi Gigaba
News of the then home affairs minister's extramarital affair with Buhle Mkhize was first flung in the spotlight in 2015 when Mkhize and Mrs Gigaba, affectionately known as Mrs Gigabyte, had it out on social media, with Mrs Gigabyte calling Mkhize a prostitute. According to Mkhize, an arrangement was made in cooperation with SA Intelligence to have R500,000 given to her in order for her to keep her mouth shut about the affair.
5. Cyril Ramaphosa
The Sunday Independent published details of a number of emails purporting to reveal that Ramaphosa had been conducting extramarital affairs with a number of women. Details of these affairs were contained in emails from at least two Gmail accounts that are believed to belong to Ramaphosa, according to the paper.