Minister axed in Swazi royal sex scandal

2010-08-08 13:00
Japhet Ncube
Swaziland’s King Mswati was this week mulling what to do next with justice minister Ndumiso Mamba, who was caught red-handed last week sleeping with one of the king’s wives.

Mamba was this week handed a written letter of resignation and told to sign it, sources reveal. The spin will then be that he resigned, whereas in fact he was fired.

This follows an exposé in City Press last week in which we reported that Mamba had been nabbed on Wednesday having sex with Nothando Dube, the king’s 12th wife, who is known as LaDube.

Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini on Thursday called a news conference that lasted less than five minutes, where he announced Mamba’s resignation as minister and senator.

Dlamini was accompanied at the briefing by Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku and other high-ranking government officials. Dlamini said Mamba had resigned “following certain allegations circulating in the country and internationally”.

He said the minister offered to resign after consultations had been held.

Mamba did not attend the ­media briefing.

Swazi newspapers, which are banned from reporting on royal scandals, reported the minister’s resignation on Friday, but did not mention the sex scandal at all.

Mamba resigned less than two years after Mswati appointed him to both positions. He has created a dilemma for Mswati because they were close friends who grew up together, and he signs the royal family’s business and investment deals.

Some of the king’s investments and companies are believed to be in Mamba’s name.

“He knows too much, so Mswati has to find a way of dealing with this,” a source said on Friday. “If he flees into exile with the royal secrets, that would be a major problem for Mswati.”

Mamba’s fate was sealed on Monday, when he last appeared in Parliament and was grilled about expenditure of more than R200?000 on international trips.

Mamba said he did not know he would have to undertake such trips and that he had represented the king and the prime minister.

This week City Press obtained pictures showing Mamba’s arrest at Royal Villas, a posh hotel at Ezulwini, just outside Mbabane. The hotel was his love nest which he shared with the king’s youngest wife, and Swaziland’s military agents had been on the trail of the adulterous pair for several months.

The pictures show that when police pounced, in a desperate effort not to be found out Mamba cut into the base of the bed and slid in – but police ordered him out and Mamba, dressed in a brown suit, was soon taken ­into custody.

A source said on Friday that Mswati (42) had called the country’s army commander from Taiwan, where he was on a 10-day state visit when the sex scandal broke, and told him that if Mamba fled the country the military chief would also have to flee.

He also ordered that the sex scandal be kept secret and that if it was leaked there would be trouble.

Mamba was kept at Big Bend Prison under heavy guard until Sunday. Mswati flew back into the country on Wednesday.

LaDube (22) was detained at the queen mother’s royal residence at Ludzidzini, Mbabane.

The king flew home in the eye of this royal sex storm and immediately gathered his most trusted lieutenants around him.

He ordered that an investigation be carried out to identify City Press’s sources, through a printout of phone calls made to Swaziland.

Lucky Lukhele, Swaziland Solidarity Network’s (SSN’s) spokesperson for the organisation’s South African chapter, said: “Mswati is deeply embarrassed by the sex scandal and is livid that it reached the South African media.”

He added; “This sex scandal has nothing to do with the state, but because Mswati is above the law he will use his personal crisis to drag Swaziland further into the human rights dump site.

“The saddest part is that Swaziland’s media are banned from even saying a word about this political crisis.”