Supra, the cows and the sangoma

2018-06-10 11:46
Tshanako Tshukudu, a traditional healer in North West, says he received 42 Bonsmara cattle as payment for saving former premier Supra Mahumapelo’s life

Tshanako Tshukudu, a traditional healer in North West, says he received 42 Bonsmara cattle as payment for saving former premier Supra Mahumapelo’s life

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A traditional healer in North West who alerted authorities to a former ANC councillor’s plan to kill former premier Supra Mahumapelo believes a plan was unfolding to use state resources to reward him, but says he would rather starve than be part of any corrupt activities.

This comes at a time when the Hawks are probing allegations that Mahumapelo gifted former president Jacob Zuma with a herd of 25 Bonsmara cattle worth R1.5m. The cattle were reportedly meant to empower poor farmers in the province, including those who lost livestock in recent droughts.

Tshanako Tshukudu said he had so far seen 42 Bonsmara cattle, including two bulls, which he was told were his, and that 20 more would be delivered once a farm had been bought for him.

He said that while he was homeless and lived in fear for his life after his consultation rooms back home in Mmasebudule near Zeerust were torched and his livestock stolen while he was in witness protection, he was “not going to be rewarded with stolen cattle” or through “any abuse of state resources”.

He told City Press that those close to Mahumapelo told him that the ANC provincial chairperson had ordered a farm and livestock to be purchased for him once he returned from witness protection.

He exited the programme after the ANC councillor, Gaasite Legalatladi, was sentenced to five years in prison in October in what he said marked the beginning of his woes.

Tshukudu is the man who, in 2014, called the police after Legalatladi allegedly walked into his consultation room and asked him to assist with a potion that would help her in her plan to kill Mahumapelo. Legalatladi was arrested in a sting operation set by Tshukudu during the next consultation.

Tshukudu said he now believed that his reward was being illegally drawn from government.

He said that, when he left the witness protection programme, he was taken to an agricultural plot outside Vryburg, which he was told would be his family’s temporary shelter until he got his farm.

“I was told to go on a farm hunt and I signed an offer to purchase a farm from this man who is now threatening to take me to court.

“When I asked my handlers, they said to me: ‘Why do you want to buy a farm when the ANC has resolved farms will be taken for free? We will get you that farm for free,’” Tshukudu said.

“I was tricked, fell for it and now I might find myself in court with no funds to defend myself.”

"I can't be part of this"

Meanwhile, City Press has seen a statement written by the landlord, Thapelo Koee, saying he had an agreement with a man named Mainline Mokwena, who said he was sent by the department of agriculture to seek accommodation for a “scientist”.

Koee said Mokwena explained that the scientist was working on a project related to trees that were absorbing too much water in the area, thus killing the surrounding grazing land.

Koee said he was also told that the scientist was sent by the province’s agriculture MEC, Manketsi Tlhape. He said they agreed on a R20 000 monthly instalment, which would be paid by the department.

City Press understands that Mokwena is a businessperson from Vryburg and a close ally of ANC provincial executive committee member Donald Mosikare. The latter is known to be close to Tlhape and Mahumapelo.

Back at the small agricultural holding outside Vryburg, the scientist turned out to be Tshukudu, who was shocked when he arrived at an old house that he said had no electricity.

“I felt dumped, but I was hoping this would improve. However, later realised I was on my own. Here and there, I would get R6 000 from Mokwena, as well as airtime and petrol for the power generator I bought myself,” Tshukudu said.

Suddenly, he said, Bonsmaras were delivered and “Mokwena asked me to take pictures and indicate if I was happy with the herd, and I gave them the thumbs up”.

Tshukudu said he had no reason to celebrate as a tide of suspicions took over his thoughts. Soon, however, it all became clear to him, including why he was called a scientist.

“Mokwena told me that they had to find a way to get the cattle to me as well as cover all other expenses, hence the [department’s claim] that I am a scientist at work ... and I thought to myself that I can’t be part of this. Firstly, I can’t say I was given cattle as I never signed for any,” he said.

“Secondly, I had people coming to the farm asking to buy goats that were not there and other strange things, which forced me to flee the area in fear for my life.

“It is clear some people are not happy that I tipped off police and helped them arrest someone who wanted to kill people, hence my livestock was stolen and my property torched back home.

“I saved lives and, because of that, I lost my monthly income of almost R100 000 as a traditional healer, my property and my livestock, and this is what I get for being a responsible citizen.

“As a father of 14, I am desperate in many ways, but if they want to thank me for my good deeds, then everything must be above board and not through any dubious means.”

However, Mokwena has denied any knowledge of Bonsmara cattle gifted to Tshukudu, and says he had not introduced Tshukudu as a scientist.

“All I did was help Mosikare find accommodation for Tshukudu. I know nothing about any cattle for Tshukudu,” he said.

Mosikare said he was merely helping Tshukudu because he was homeless after he came out of witness protection.

“I know nothing about any reward promised to him, a farm or any cattle,” said Mosikare.

Provincial department of agriculture spokesperson Emelda Setlhako confirmed that Tlhape knew Tshukudu, but only from an ANC branch meeting they attended together.

“The MEC has never promised Tshukudu anything as Tshukudu alleges ... they only met at a branch meeting and discussed branch matters,” she said.

She further denied the department was involved in any delivery of cattle.

“The MEC and the department cannot confirm the delivery of the cattle, and there is no record of procurement of cattle for Tshukudu. There is no record of a transaction for payment of cattle for Tshukudu,” Setlhako said.

City Press sent WhatsApp messages to Mahumapelo this week for comment. It’s clear he has read the messages, but he did not respond by the time of going to print.

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Read more on:    anc  |  supra mahumapelo

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