After spending 15 months in the witness protection programme, self-confessed liar Jan Venter has been kicked out, leaving many questions about the allegations he made against Deputy President David Mabuza.
Both the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) confirmed that an investigation, based on evidence Venter provided, was ongoing, but declined to give details.
Last week Venter tried to force the NPA to return him to the witness protection programme through an urgent court application, but his attempt failed.
He has given up on it and is now trying to get a chance to testify in the Zondo commission.
“He was discharged from the programme as he failed to comply with the terms of his protection programme,” said NPA spokesperson Bulelwa Makeke.
Makeke said she could not comment about Venter’s safety since leaving the witness protection programme because “the matter is the subject of a court application”.
It appears that the NPA kicked him out following his outburst in an e-mail written to political parties, the media and many other people on August 16 when he revealed the address of the safe house where he lived, published cellphone numbers of senior NPA officials and accused them of being “probably in cahoots with Mabuza to have me killed”.
City Press understands that the reason Venter went into witness protection was that he accused Mabuza and his associates of bribing him with cash to testify in a lawsuit against former ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa.
The lawsuit emanated from a purported intelligence report that Phosa sent to Luthuli House in 2014 to be investigated by the then ANC top six.
The report alleged that Mabuza was an apartheid spy code-named PN485, who spied on senior ANC leaders including former president Jacob Zuma, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and the late Albertina Sisulu between 1985 and 1993.
It also alleged that Mabuza worked with notorious apartheid killers – former Vlakplaas commander Eugene de Kock and security police officer Butana Nofomela.
Venter, who worked for Phosa as a butler, caused a maelstrom in 2014 when he alleged under oath that he saw Phosa and his associate, Nick Elliot, concocting the so-called spy report.
Mabuza then instituted a R10 million defamation lawsuit against Phosa in the Pretoria High Court for labelling him a spy.
Phosa, however, said the report was dropped anonymously at his White River house and he then sent it to ANC deputy secretary Jessie Duarte with the aim of getting the ANC officials to investigate it.
Phosa won the case in 2016, but the court found that Venter, who had switched allegiance between the two politicians many times before the trial, was a liar. Venter testified on Mabuza’s behalf during the trial.
But long after the case Venter turned his back on Mabuza once more.
He claimed that he feared for his life and obtained an interim protection order against the deputy president in May last year after he had allegedly been receiving threatening phone calls as he planned to hold a media conference to spill the beans against Mabuza.
Venter was then put into the witness protection programme.
He has alleged that Mabuza bribed him with cash amounts of as much as R30 000 at a time and that he bought him a car and a firearm.
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi would not be drawn into revealing details of Venter’s allegations against Mabuza.
“We have indeed received various allegations or complaints from Mr Venter, which we continue to investigate, firstly in order to establish their veracity and secondly to establish possible culpability where necessary.
“When the process concludes the resultant decision will be communicated,” Mulaudzi said.
Makeke said a decision on whether to prosecute Mabuza or not will be taken once all outstanding investigations are finalised.
Asked about Venter’s credibility since the high court found that he was a liar, Makeke said: “No credibility determination has been made on the facts in the present case.”
Mabuza’s spokesperson, Thami Ngwenya, did not respond to written questions on the matter.