South Africa trade union boss deported over Zimbabwean links

By Cynthia Dube

South African Transport and Allied Workers`Union (Satawu) boss who is suspected to be a Zimbabwean has been deported after Home Affairs discovered that he was living in the country illegally.

South African Transport and Allied Workers`Union (Satawu) boss Zenzo Mahlangu
South African Transport and Allied Workers`Union (Satawu) boss Zenzo Mahlangu

According to media in that country, the general Secretary Mr Zenzo Mahlangu was arrested on Thursday and deported on Friday when the department of Home affairs discovered that he was in possession of a South African identity document that identified him as a South African citizen by birth while he is actually a Zimbabwean.

According to South African media, Home affairs acting spokesperson David Hlabane confirmed the deportation of Mr Mahlangu who is also a member of the African National Congress (ANC) party.

“He was deported on the same day. He chose not to exercise his right to challenge the deportation, but opted to buy his own flight ticket and depart immediately instead of being deported through Lindela Repatriation Centre,” said Mr Hlabane.

He said the department was not in a position to know if anyone being investigated was a high-profile person because all reported cases were afforded the same attention, irrespective of the social status and standing of an individual

He added: “Home affairs received information that Mr Mahlangu was in possession of a South African identity document that identified him as a South African citizen by birth, while he is actually a Zimbabwean national. The matter was investigated and it was found that he had acquired the South African identity document through misrepresentation.”

A comment, according to news24, could not be obtained as Mr Mahlangu did not respond to text messages and his cell phone was on voice mail.According to the publication, National Transport Movement general secretary Ephraim Mphahlele said they had not peddled any information about Mahlangu’s nationality.

Mr Mphahlele said there had always been concerns that Mahlangu could not speak the South African version of isiNdebele and it was suspected his name was not, in fact, Zenzo Mahlangu.

Recently, Mahlangu broke ranks with Cosatu saying that Satawu would not endorse Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa as the next ANC leader because Treasury, the SA Reserve Bank and the Constitution have constrained the ANC’s ability to transform the economy. Public sector unions are largely in favour of Ramaphosa.

Mahlangu said individuals in the upcoming battle for ruling party leadership did not matter. What mattered was whether the ANC shifted its policy trajectory to usher in an era of economic freedom. Mahlangu led a troubled industrial union, which has been through two splits since 2012.

The union has endured the acquittal of Mahlangu on a charge of abusing union funds, the resignations and expulsions of senior officials and the assassination of its Gauteng leader, Chris Nkosi, for which no one has been arrested to date. The Chronicle