Mandela scandal ‘death threats’ force woman into hiding

2015-02-23 19:41
(File: AP)

(File: AP)

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East London - A woman linked to the Mandela memorial fund scandal in the Buffalo City Metro has gone into hiding after she allegedly received death threats from people implicated in the case.

City Press reported on Sunday how an East London businessman convicted of fraud in the case signed an explosive affidavit detailing how top ANC leaders allegedly colluded to cash in after former president Nelson Mandela died.

In his affidavit, Mzwandile Sokwali mentioned Zuziwe Dyakopu as phoning him, asking if he had heard from Phumlani Mkolo, the regional secretary of the ANC, and one of the accused in the case.

In his affidavit, Sokwali claims that Mkolo was the mastermind behind the Mandela memorial fund scandal as he facilitated everything.

And Dyakopu, who worked in the office of the regional secretary, acted on Mkolo’s instructions when she contacted him, according to Sokwali’s explosive affidavit, which City Press has seen.

Sokwali pleaded guilty to fraud and money-laundering charges after a plea bargain with the state and was handed a five-year suspended sentence.

In his affidavit, Sokwali said: “I received a telephone call from [a Ms Zuziwe] during the afternoon of Friday, 6 December 2013. I do not know her surname but I know that she is employed at the office of the regional secretary of the ANC. She enquired whether I received a call from Mr Phumlani Mkolo, the regional secretary.”

Advocate Matthew Mphahlwa confirmed to City Press that his client, Dyakopu, had gone into hiding after she received various death threats.

“I can confirm that she is hiding. She was due to have a meeting with Hawks investigators on Friday but because of these threats to her life, we had to cancel. She is getting pressure from certain people,” said Mphahlwa.

Mphahlwa could not say who was making these threats, but that they were being made by people with interest in the case.

Mphahlwa said though Dyakopu was not charged in the case, her interactions with Sokwali allegedly on Mkolo’s instructions could prove crucial in the state’s case, but was not sure why the Hawks wanted to meet her.

“I cannot say why the Hawks wanted to meet with her. All I know is that she is very scared due to the death threats. She last went to work on Wednesday because she does not feel safe anymore,” he said.

Mphahlwa could not confirm or deny if the death threats come from ANC leaders implicated in the case.

Last year the Hawks arrested senior ANC regional leaders, including Buffalo City Mayor Zukisa Ncitha, her deputy Temba Tinta, council speaker Luleka Simon-Ndzele and senior ANC councillor Sindiswa Gomba, director in the office of the Mayor Ondela Mahlangu and Mkolo.

Also implicated are business people Viwe Vazi, Zintle Nkuhlu and Deon Fanoe.

The accused are due back in court on Wednesday.

Meanwhile in his affidavit, Sokwali claims that when he went to the ANC regional offices after getting the call from “Zuziwe” she handed him a document titled “Regional programme for the late Cde Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela”.

She also asked Sokwali to furnish a quotation to convey mourners to various venues around East London.

Contacted for comment on Monday, Dyakopu referred City Press to Mphahlwa.

“I cannot talk about this. Please speak to my lawyer. I am scared to talk to anyone about this; please talk to him if you need anything,” she said.

Read more on:    east london  |  crime

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