Am­bas­sador fires do­mes­tic

Sunday Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - LUNGANI ZUNGU [email protected]

THE South African am­bas­sador to the Nether­lands, Bruce Koloane, has fired his do­mes­tic worker af­ter she was ar­rested for pos­ses­sion of drugs in The Hague.

Ntokozo Mthethwa, orig­i­nally from Kwamashu north of Dur­ban, got the job at Koloane’s of­fi­cial res­i­dence in 2016.

The Sun­day Tri­bune learnt that the po­lice in the Nether­lands had been watch­ing her closely for some time be­fore her ar­rest at the Sta­tion Den Haag HS (Sta­tion Hol­lands Spoor) four weeks ago.

It’s al­leged that at the time when she was ar­rested, Mthethwa was in pos­ses­sion of 2.5kg of heroin which had been sent to her place of work. How­ever, lo­cal po­lice had al­ready placed a tracker on it to de­ter­mine its fi­nal des­ti­na­tion.

It’s be­lieved she was ar­rested while hand­ing over the par­cel to two men.

The Sun­day Tri­bune un­der­stands that Mthethwa was re­leased on bail and was sub­se­quently fired by Koloane.

“The em­bassy is busy look­ing for her re­place­ment as we speak,” ac­cord­ing to a well-placed source.

Ndi­vhuwo Mabaya, spokesper­son of the Depart­ment of In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions and Co-op­er­a­tion (Dirco), con­firmed the ar­rest.

“The em­bassy in­formed us of the ar­rest and we are of­fer­ing ser­vices, we will mon­i­tor the case and give her nec­es­sary sup­port,” said Mabaya.

Mthethwa’s fam­ily told the Sun­day Tri­bune they were “stunned” by the news and found it hard to be­lieve she could be in­volved in drugs.

Her cousin, who asked not to be named, said: “All we know is that she was in Nether­lands to work. She left about 10 years ago and it is the first time we hear that she is deal­ing in drugs. We are re­ally con­fused.”

She said Mthethwa had been sup­port­ing them fi­nan­cially since she went to the Nether­lands.

“It’s painful to hear things like this like this be­cause she re­cently bought a house in Avoca Hills. I just hope she did not do what she is ac­cused of, be­cause it will de­stroy her whole life.”

Mthethwa is be­lieved to be in her thir­ties.

A source who knew Mthethwa from the time she ar­rived in the Nether­lands, said: “Be­fore her ap­point­ment at the of­fi­cial res­i­dence she used to clean at restau­rants. Some­one rec­om­mended her to the em­bassy. Luck­ily, she got the job. But she messed things up.”

Ap­proached for in­for­ma­tion, Koloane de­clined to com­ment and said he had sent all rel­e­vant re­ports to Dirco.

Koloane was posted to the Nether­lands af­ter he took the blame for al­low­ing the Gupta fam­ily to land their pri­vate plane at the Waterk­loof Air­force Base in Pre­to­ria, a na­tional key point and not open to pri­vate cit­i­zens.

Many re­garded him as the “fall guy” for for­mer pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma, who has close ties with the Gupta fam­ily.

Fol­low­ing the back­lash Koloane, who was Chief Pro­to­col Of­fi­cer at Dirco at the time, was sus­pended. He later emerged as South Africa’s am­bas­sador to the Nether­lands.

How­ever, in the #Gup­taleaks se­ries of email doc­u­ments link­ing the Gupta fam­ily to var­i­ous se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and deals, it emerged that Koloane had al­legedly used his po­si­tion as am­bas­sador to the Nether­lands to help fur­ther the busi­ness in­ter­ests of the Gup­tas in that coun­try.

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