THE EFF has opened criminal charges against Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane and three other officials.

The charges related to alleged nepotism in connection with the 2021 traffic learnership programme that appointed more than over 125 young people.

The EFF, which opened the case at Nelspruit Police Station, said Mtshweni-Tsipane ordered that eight candidates who were children and relatives of her personal protectors be appointed.

The party alleged that Jacob Phala, who was attached to the office of the premier, and Jabu Ngema and Bawinile Mabuza, attached to safety, security and liaison officials, were on the interviewing panel that appointed their own children.

Provincial EFF chairman Collen Sedibe told Daily Sun that the party opened the case after receiving substantial evidence.

“We discovered that people from outside the province were appointed, even though the advert specifically said opportunities were only for youth from Mpumalanga,” he said.

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“We have also established that panel members interviewing candidates appointed their own children. We have the evidence and gave it to the police.”

Sedibe wanted the appointment process to start over. He said the party’s legal team had already sent an interdict to the community safety department.

Mpumalanga police spokesman Brigadier Leonard Hlathi confirmed that two cases of corruption were opened.

“I am not at liberty to say who they were opened against. I cannot give any statements,” he said.

Meanwhile, the premier’s spokeswoman Sibongile Mkani-Mpolweni said Mtshweni-Tsipane welcomed the decision by the opposition to open charges.

“The premier is of the firm belief that the facts of the matter will exonerate her of having an alleged role in the process,” she said.