When politics and sex collide: Ten sex scandals that rocked our world


Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Chairperson of the Human Resouce Development Council of South Africa addressing the multi stakeholder dialoque meeting in Soshanguve.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Chairperson of the Human Resouce Development Council of South Africa addressing the multi stakeholder dialoque meeting in Soshanguve.

JOHANNESBURG - Cyril Ramaphosa is having to stave off controversy over his alleged affairs with numerous women. But sex scandals are not new in the political sphere, where lust and power often collide. eNCA presents ten notable sex scandals that have rocked the political space.  

President Jacob Zuma

President Zuma was accused of raping Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo, the daughter of an old friend and exile comrade.

Fezekile, more commonly known as Khwezi,  said she considered Zuma a father figure and was horrified when he raped her.

#RememberKhwezi: Zuma's rape accuser dies, never having known freedom

The subsequent trial, in which the president was found not guilty, saw Khwezi verbally attacked and threatened outside the court precinct. She subsequently went into exile.



Khwezi died in 2016.

Fikile Mbalula

Police minister Fikile Mbalula made the news for all the wrong reasons when his affair with a 27-year-old Johannesburg model was revealed in 2011. The model was allegedly impregnated by Mbalula.

Mbalula, who accused the model of extortion, later admitted to having had a one-night stand with her. His marriage survived the indiscretion.

Kebby Maphatsoe

MKMVA leader Kebby Maphatsoe lit up social media when naked photos of him were tweeted. Maphatsoe said his family were traumatised by the revelations and required counselling.

WATCH: EFF's Shivambu weighs in on 'that' nude pic

However, he declined to take action against the person who circulated the pictures.

Jeff Radebe

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe was embroiled in a scandal after details emerged of him requesting a 29-year-old photographer at the Union Buildings to send him photographs of her private parts.



The photographer was also reported to have exchanged suggestive messages with former ANC treasurer Mathews Phosa and then Eastern Cape premier Phumulo Masualle. Phosa denied any impropriety in this matter. Radebe appeared to shrug off the scandal and later threw his name into the hat in the ANC presidential election race.

Malusi Gigaba

Then home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba found himself in the public eye when his girlfriend, stylist Buhle Mkhize, wrote an open letter expressing details of their affair after Gigaba's wife exposed the affair in an interview with eNCA.

Mkhize was angered by the interview and warned Gigaba to keep his wife on a leash or more details about their affair would be released. Gigaba's relationship survived, and he was later appointed Minister of Finance.

Zwelinzima Vavi

Former Cosatu secretary-general and presently Saftu leader, Zwelinzima Vavi, was embroiled in controversy in 2013 when he was accused of rape. Vavi denied the charge but admitted to having had sex with the accuser, asserting it was consensual.

The woman later sought R4.1-million in damages from Vavi, who accused her of extortion.

READ: Vavi, rape accuser showdown looms

Vavi was suspended from Cosatu over the affair and later expelled when he disagreed with the expulsion of metalworkers union Numsa from the labour federation. Vavi apologised to his wife and to South Africa for his indiscretion.

International affairs

John F Kennedy

US President John F Kennedy was described by his biographer Robert Dallek as a 'compulsive womaniser'. By far his most notable affair was with legendary film star Marilyn Monroe who caught Kennedy's eye at a dinner party held in his honour in New York.

But Kennedy was also reported to have had affairs with Mimi Alford, a 19-year-old White House intern, and Judith Campbell Exner, a socialite with links to the mafia. Kennedy's affairs did not seem to taint his reputation.

Bill Clinton

US President Bill Clinton will forever be known for his statement 'I did not have sexual relations with that woman'. Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky, which he later admitted, led to his impeachment on perjury charges in 1988 by the US House of Representatives.

The charges were subsequently reversed in the Senate where he was acquitted on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. His marriage to Hillary Clinton survived the scandal.

Sylvio Berlusconi

Italian Prime Minister Sylvia Berslusconi was engulfed in a sex scandal involving a 17-year-old Moroccan belly dancer, Karima El Mahroug, known as "Ruby the heart stealer."

Berlusconi, owner of AC Milan football club and a billionaire media mogul, held wild events, known as 'bunga bunga' parties at his private residence, to which he would invite numerous prostitutes.

He was found guilty of paying for sex with minors and of asking the head of the Milan police to release Mahroug, who was being held on theft charges and sentenced to seven years imprisonment. He was later acquitted of all charges on appeal. His wife left him soon after the allegations surfaced.

Francois Mitterand

French President Francois Mitterand had a 30-year-long affair with art critic Anne Pingeot, with whom he fathered a daughter.

Throughout this time he maintained his 50-year marriage to his wife, with whom he had three children. The French public seemed unfazed by revelations of his affair, being more concerned with his political competence.