Bishop who accused David Mabuza of murder evades cops, claiming foul play

David Mabuza. Picture: Morapedi Mashashe
David Mabuza. Picture: Morapedi Mashashe

Mpumalanga police have issued a warrant of arrest for Bishop Hangwi Maumela, who accused Deputy President David Mabuza of being a murderer

Mpumalanga police have issued a warrant of arrest for Bishop Hangwi Maumela, who accused Deputy President David Mabuza of being a murderer.

Police say Maumela failed to keep his word and hand himself over to an investigating officer. This, after Mabuza laid a crimen injuria charge against him in Secunda in July last year.

Maumela, an ANC member, is a bishop of the Faith Bible Church in the North West. He became known when he campaigned for Cyril Ramaphosa to be president before the Nasrec conference in 2017.

Maumela’s accusations against Mabuza were captured on video and circulated via social media at the time.

He spoke at two events organised by ANC factions which were campaigning to replace Mabuza as the party’s provincial chairperson.

“We need people who have a vision … who have made it in their lives without killing other people … comrades who have made it in their lives without victimising, sleeping around and doing all those things,” Maumela had said.

“We cannot have a murderer as a deputy president and then you have the girlfriend of a murderer as a premier. It doesn’t work that way. We need a man of integrity.”

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said police had been unable to locate Maumela.

“The court has granted us a warrant of arrest. We are still calling for him to come forth and hand himself over,” Hlathi said.

Maumela has, however, been active on social media and City Press spoke to him last week.

He said that he was not hiding from the police but was hijacked in Bronkhorstspruit while on his way to meet Mpumalanga police last year.

“I lost my phones and everything during the hijack and was almost killed. In the next incident I was shot at while driving to Mpumalanga again. I realised that there was foul play and some people have been telling me that the day that I am arrested, I will be killed through poisoning,” he said.

Maumela failed in his attempt to convince President Cyril Ramaphosa not to appoint Mabuza as his deputy.

He made this request in a letter allegedly written by his legal representative from Tshakafa SS Attorneys on May 29.

Mabuza initially refused to be sworn in as an MP, saying he first needed to get clarity from the ANC’s integrity commission, after its report fingered him and 22 other comrades for having brought the party into disrepute and not deserving leadership positions.

After meeting with the commission, Mabuza said he was satisfied. He was duly appointed deputy president.

Maumela’s letter, written in his capacity as a member of the Concerned South African Alliance (CSAA), first circulated via WhatsApp under the name of Advocate Seeng Letele. Letele distanced herself from the letter when City Press approached her last week.

“I did not draft that letter. He is a coward to face the deputy president. Why send him to me?” she said.

But Maumela denied responsibility for the letter appearing on WhatsApp, saying it was leaked after it had been sent to CSAA members for comment.

In the letter, Ramaphosa is warned about Mabuza’s involvement in land claims fraud in Mpumalanga as part of pending court cases. The cases are about Mabuza’s stand-off with conservationist Fred Daniel.

So far, Mabuza has not been charged, but he is cited in a R1.2 billion lawsuit instituted by Daniel against the Mpumalanga government. Daniel complained that the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Authority and various government departments were denying him permits to keep wild animals. He also tried to get a protection order against Mabuza – a case he lost but is appealing.

“We are of the view that you should allow the legal proceedings referred to above run their course, before you would be in a position to make an informed decision as to whether or not appointing Mr Mabuza will bring our Constitution and country into disrepute,” the letter warns.

Mabuza’s spokesperson, Thami Ngwenya, said: “We decline to comment.”

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