Mpumalanga conservationist, Fred Daniel, will go back to the High Court in Pretoria on Monday in a fresh bid to obtain a protection order against Deputy President David Mabuza.
This time, Daniel will come armed with an affidavit from Mabuza’s niece, in which she makes the bizarre claim that she uncovered a plot to assassinate Daniel while she was cleaning the office of Mabuza’s Johannesburg home.
Daniel filed papers on an urgent basis on Friday afternoon but the case was postponed until Monday.
Mabuza’s niece, Thandeka (32), who claims that she works as an assistant at her uncle’s home, says in the affidavit that she came across information in his diary last week Tuesday, which she suspects was a written hit list.
The affidavit has yet to be tested in court.
She claims that the diary had seven entries written in it on one day – the third of which detailed Daniel’s cellphone number, the address of a location in Badplaas, and the date November 7.
The first two entries were crossed out.
Daniel lives in Badplaas where he is running a nature conservation project.
Thandeka further claims that two men from Phola, near the Mpumalanga town of Hazyview, visited Mabuza’s house last Monday and had a meeting with the deputy president at about 7:30 on Tuesday morning.
It was after the meeting that, she claims, she came across the open diary while she was cleaning.
Soon after making the discovery, Thandeka claims in the affidavit that she called a friend who advised her to seek advice from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) or the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Mpumalanga, and she drove straight to the DA’s offices in Nelspruit.
“After I finished cleaning my uncle’s study,” reads the affidavit, “I went outside in the garden and saw the two men standing together. One of them was talking on a cellphone and giving instructions to a third person on the phone directing them how to get to Badplaas to meet them there, via the toll gate from Nelspruit to Machadodorp,” she wrote.
“After about five minutes I walked up to them and asked where they were going the following day. They told me they were going to Badplaas. I got shocked and immediately went to my uncle’s study, opened the diary and wrote down the cellphone number listed in the third entry. I then started calling the number around 10h00 and could not get through.”
She said that a DA official looked up the number on True Caller and found out it was Daniel’s.
Ian Nyalunge, one of the men Thandeka mentions in the affidavit, declined to speak on the phone.
“Yes, according to the information you said, some of the things I know but I have to know you first ...” he said.
Nyalunga also acknowledged that he knew Thandeka.
“I won’t talk about something that can backfire tomorrow and leave me in jail. Let’s find time and talk (face to face),” he said.
Daniel told City Press that he was doing everything in his power to protect himself and his family.
“We’re taking this matter very seriously. I’m happy that the court has accepted the urgency of the matter. Had Thandeka not warned me, I don’t know what would have happened,” he said.
Daniel said on Saturday afternoon that he was going to lay criminal charges against Mabuza and the two men he had a meeting with.
Many hollow allegations about hit lists and political assassinations have been leveled against Mabuza since he became Mpumalanga premier and ANC chairperson in 2008 but no one has ever laid any charge against him.
Three months ago, Mabuza laid criminal charges for the first time against an individual who alleged that he was a murderer.
Mabuza laid a crimen injuria charge against ANC member, Bishop Hangwi Maumela, who was caught on video alleging during an ANC meeting in Embalenhle, Secunda, that Mabuza was a murderer and that Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtshweni was his girlfriend.
City Press reported last month that Mpumalanga police claim that Maumela was on the run and had reneged on his promise to hand himself over.
Mabuza’s spokesperson, Thami Ngwenya, dismissed the affidavit as a smear.
“This is just a desperate action by elements that seek attention for themselves and their twisted agendas by smearing the good name of the deputy president and the office he occupies. The said sworn statement is based on an imaginary meeting that never happened,” Ngwenya said.
Thandeka’s cellphone has been off since she wrote the affidavit and she is apparently lying low.
Hawks spokesperson, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, said that no criminal charges had been laid.
“We know about a court application and that we’re cited as respondents, but we don’t know the contents of the application yet and why we’ve been cited,” Mulaudzi said.
Long history of bad blood
In February this year, Daniel obtained an interim protection order against Mabuza after alleging that he had discovered that Mabuza was “playing a dirty hand behind the scenes” when he and the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency were involved in a mediation process over their decade-long dispute about permits to keep wild animals.
The Carolina Magistrate’s Court dismissed Daniel’s application later in the year.
Daniel had said in his court papers that Mabuza “presided over a well-orchestrated assault campaign on my life, property, business, staff and family, which includes my 84-year-old mother.”