Mahlobo worried about impact of other allegations made in expose

The minister has asked police to investigate the allegations against him as well as those against a spa owner.

Minister of State Security David Mahlobo addresses the pre-Budget Vote media briefing at Imbizo Media Centre in Cape Town. Picture: GCIS.

PRETORIA – While State Security Minister David Mahlobo has denied any links to rhino horn smugglers and called on the police to investigate the allegations, he says he’s concerned about the damage the Al-Jazeera investigation may have done to South Africa’s relations with China.

The minister was reacting to a documentary in which a Mbombela spa owner told an undercover reporter he knows the minister and even produced a picture of the pair together.

Mahlobo denied knowing the man but has conceded that he visits his spa.

The report also alleged that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s delegation went on an ivory and rhino horn spending spree during a state visit in December last year.

Mahlobo has asked the police to investigate the allegations against him, as well as those against the Chinese spa owner who claimed on undercover recordings to have links to the illicit rhino horn trade.

But Mahlobo is worried about the impact of other allegations made in the expose.

“We put our international relations with other countries into disrepute. Why would you say the president of China brings a powerful delegation on an important African mission and say they’ve committed criminal activities? This thing is far-reaching.”

The Democratic Alliance says Mahlobo should be suspended until the police have concluded their investigation.

WATCH: South African minister linked to rhino poaching

Meanwhile, the minister has denied knowing the spa owner, but has conceded that he has visited the spa for manicures and massages.

He says he wants an explanation from the Chinese spa owner.

The minister has also asked the Mpumalanga police commissioner to investigate the allegations against himself and the spa owner.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)