‘Heartsore’ Emalahleni businessman says he was scammed to the tune of R100 000 in tender ‘deal’
Controversial fugitive Mpumalanga bishop Hangwi Maumela has been caught on tape bragging about his closeness to President Cyril Ramaphosa and then allegedly conning a desperate tenderpreneur out of R100 000.
Maumela has been on the run from police for months after he alleged that Deputy President David Mabuza was a murderer.
The recording was made by Maumela’s former personal assistant, Thuli Kgopotso, and its authenticity confirmed by businessman Lawrence Maroos, who is party to it.
Maumela can be heard claiming that:
- He is politically connected to Ramaphosa and if “they [businesspeople and investors] gave him money, they gave it to the president”;
- He can influence Ramaphosa’s decisions;
- His organisation, Concerned South Africans, belongs to Ramaphosa and he was running it on his behalf; and
- He can organise tenders and funding for businesspeople.
But his help with tenders did not flow from the goodness of his heart, as Maumela would demand a fee for his time and for petrol.
I PAID HIM
Emalahleni businessman Maroos alleges that he transferred R100 000 to Maumela’s church, Faith Harvest Trading, but never received the three tenders he was promised, or his money back.
“That man, Maumela, is bad news. He is just a scam and took my money when I needed it the most. I was desperate because I owed the SA Revenue Service (Sars).
“Maumela gave me the impression that he was very close to the president and that he was a go-to person if one needed a job (tender),” he said.
Maroos said Maumela would receive calls, purportedly from ministers. At times he would say the president was on the line.
“Then he would brag about his pollical connections. But I think that was just a lie. He used to call me and tell me that the comrades want R5 000. I would give him the money. Sometimes he would want money for booze and bottles of Johnny Walker Black whisky.”
Maroos said Maumela promised him three tenders in Modimolle, Mbombela and Ermelo, none of which materialised.
“That recording is genuine,” Maroos said, adding that “that man left me heartsore.”
In the recording dated July 17 2018, a man, whom Kgopotso and Maroos identify as Maumela, receives a call during which he boasts to the caller that the caller should tell investors that “I am close to Cyril and if they put money on me, they put on Cyril. Sharp!!”
After the call, the conversation continues. Maroos informs Maumela of his problems with Sars regarding a R40 million tax bill. Maroos continues to say he had since entered into an agreement to pay R4 million in instalments of R1.4 million a month.
“That agreement is still too much,” Maumela is heard saying.
Maroos responds: “No, it’s not. R4 million. You see, the problem is when you are in corner, you will agree to anything.”
Maumela says: “It is just that I do not want to intervene. No no, to me it’s still a lot. They should have said you pay R500 [thousand] per month.”
Maroos continues: “So I need that IT job [tender] so I can pay Sars month end.”
Maumela says: “Listen, if you still need the job, we can go back to the same mayor. But this time I will have to create a story … I can say there was something happening … this one of Sars. Let me try this before I respond.”
He then proceeds to call the purported mayor.
“How are you, sir? I am in a big crisis. What is happening is that Sars is on my neck and the only way I can be rescued it’s when the guy that disappointed you … remember the guy from Witbank? If you can give him some job tender. He can assist me with R1.8 million that I want. If you could assist. You know if this thing goes to the media saying ‘the ANC man in a Sars dodgy scandal’ it will not be ok.”
He continues: “Even if you want me to come to your house tonight, I will drive and come. Because if you can get something that at least could give us about R2 million this month and we get others in three payments, I mean three invoices the way you used in the past. Can I come tonight? Ok. Sharp. I will come. I am sorry… I will talk to him,” Maumela is heard saying.
After dropping the call, Maumela is heard saying he also wanted money for petrol. “I don’t even have petrol,” he said.
Kgopotso said after many unfulfilled promises on Maumela’s part she wrote a letter to the president through Soweto ANC regional official Stan Itshegetseng.
In an email sent to Itshegetseng dated September 18 2018, Kgopotso writes: “On the 25th of June I was hired by Bishop Maumela as his PA for the organisation called Concerned South Africans. He told me that this is your organisation, but you cannot run it on your own as all eyes are on you as the newly elected president. He further told me that you are the one who is sponsoring this organisation through Nehawu and the SACP, so you requested him to lead it as he is the one who is leading the #ThumaMina campaign nationally,” she wrote.
“I strongly believed him because he did show me your number from his phone and the WhatsApp conversation thereof. I was then tempted as your strong supporter and I fell into his trap. We were travelling all the provinces and when we arrived, we used to be introduced as people from the presidency, and we would get top treatment.
“Even when he is given a platform, he will tell the crowd that he is sent by the president. I have witnessed him defrauding people and let them pay to see you or ministers. For example, to see a minister he would charge them R50 000.”
Kgopotso said she reported the matter to police and even met with former Gauteng MEC for community safety Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane, who advised her to go to Luthuli House.
Contacted by City Press, Maumela confirmed the recording and said that he charged Maroos a fee because he could not use his own resources and time for free.
“I cannot use my time and petrol for free. I helped him to submit documents for tenders and it is not my problem that he did not get the tenders,” he said, adding that it was public knowledge that he was close to and had campaigned for Ramaphosa.
Maumela promised to give a detailed response on Friday, but instead sent the number of a person he claimed to be his lawyer on Saturday.
The person did not respond to calls and SMS messages.
Nkosi-Malobane, whom Kgopotso met while she was MEC, said: “I referred her to the Hawks and Crime Intelligence. That man should be arrested. I dislike people who name-drop politicians’ names for personal gain.”
Presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko did not respond to questions surrounding Maumela’s claims and whether the letter had indeed been received by the president.