Opposition parties want Mahlobo placed on special leave

The state security minister has emphatically denied claims he's connected to a rhino horn trafficker.

Minister of State Security David Mahlobo. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Opposition parties are calling for State Security Minister David Mahlobo to be put on special leave pending an investigation into his alleged ties to a self-confessed rhino-horn trafficker.

Mahlobo has emphatically denied the claims, which emerged in a documentary by television network Al Jazeera.

The report show Chinese national, Guan Jiang Guan, claiming Mahlobo was a regular visitor to his massage parlour in Mbombela and suggested the minister and his wife were involved in the rhino horn "business".

Opposition MP’s in the National Assembly on Tuesday demanded that President Jacob Zuma suspend Mahlobo while the allegations are investigated.

ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe said, “We want to know how a minister responsible for state security and intelligence could have failed to know that his Chinese friend was involved in illegal rhino horn trafficking. Is minister Mahlobo fit to lead his office?”

DA MP James Lorimer said “Clearly the minister cannot continue in his current position and must be put on special leave to avoid manipulation of this crucial investigation. It is grossly inappropriate that someone privy to information on and tasked with combating organised crime finds himself associating with suspected members of organised crime syndicates.”

(Edited by Neo Koza)