A woman who masqueraded as Deputy President David Mabuza’s niece and raised a false alarm about a plot to assassinate a nature conservationist pleaded guilty to avoid being cross-examined.
This is according to the conservationist Fred Daniel, who was told by Nomfundo Sambo (32) that she heard Mabuza conspiring with two men to assassinate him in 2018.
Sambo, who claimed she was Thandeka Mabuza, was sentenced to seven years in prison by the Nelspruit Regional Court on Tuesday for:
- Concealing her identity and using a pseudonym;
- Laying a false charge of kidnapping, theft and robbery at Low’s Creek, and claiming she lost a work laptop and R4 000; and
- The fraudulent purchase of furniture worth R28 000 at Russells in Hazyview.
Sambo claimed in an affidavit on November 8 2018 that she worked as Mabuza’s assistant in his Johannesburg home and had come across information in Mabuza’s diary that she suspected was a hit list.
The diary, she wrote, had seven entries and the third one was Daniel’s cellphone number and a location in Badplaas.
Daniel owned a nature conservation project in Badplaas called Cradle of Life.
Sambo alleged that she saw the diary after Mabuza had a meeting with two hitmen. She claimed have then called a friend for advice on what to do. The friend told her to take the matter to the DA or the EFF. Sambo went to the DA and later met a City Press journalist.
Daniel had to beef up his security after hearing about the plot. However, it was found that Mabuza was out of the country when the plot was allegedly hatched.
Daniel said he was not satisfied with the police investigation because he was stopped from giving his statement and claimed that R750 000 that was deposited into Sambo’s account after making the allegation was not investigated.
“She pleaded guilty to avoid being cross-examined. While I welcome the sentence, the mastermind remains at large,” he said.
Daniel believes that Sambo might have been sent to trap him into accusing Mabuza with falsehood and get sentenced for it.
“The investigation is proof that the criminal justice system is captured,” he said.
Daniel and Mabuza personally, as well as various Mpumalanga departments, have been embroiled in a lengthy, which is going to be detailed in a book titled Predator Politics, about the sabotage of his ecotourism business. The conservationist has, however, left Mpumalanga.
Daniel has also opened a case of conspiracy to murder against Mabuza and the two men Sambo portrayed as “gangsters” in her affidavit.
Soon after Sambo wrote her affidavit, information came forth that she was a fraudster.
It transpired that she was a former school clerk in Mpunzana Primary School, situated in Shabalala Trust near Hazyview, but was fired for absconding from work on September 30 2009 when allegations of fraud against her surfaced.
The Mpumalanga education department said she absconded to avoid disciplinary action.
Further investigation revealed that Sambo had used Thandeka’s name before to open a store account. Thandeka was born on October 24 1986 and her residential address is in Mahushu near Hazyview.
Sambo was born on October 19 1987 and is also from the same residential address. Sambo also had a Kagiso, Krugersdorp, residential address. She had a Facebook profile and listed the telephone number of Masoyi Police Station as her alternative contact number.