Johannesburg – ANC deputy president and Premier of Mpumalanga David Mabuza has filed papers in the Carolina Magistrate's Court opposing an interim protection order granted to a local businessman.
In terms of the temporary order, Mabuza was ordered to stop harassing and intimidating local businessman Frederick Coenraad Daniel.
The order against Mabuza was granted and served on the premier's office on Wednesday, January 31.
However, on Monday, Mabuza gave his reasons why the court should not issue a final protection order.
According to papers filed by his legal representative, there is a long-standing dispute and pending litigation between Daniel – businessman and conservationist in the Cradle of Life Reserve in Badplaas, Mpumalanga – and several provincial government departments within the province.
The papers reveal that the dispute started as far back as November 2007.
Conduct 'does not constitute harassment'
"The dispute relates to the issue of [Daniel] keeping a number of wild animals in captivity on his farm without the necessary permits."
The papers state that none of the disputes involve Mabuza personally and are all acts taken by governmental or provincial government authorities.
"The conduct complained of does not constitute harassment as contemplated in terms of the Harassment Act," read the papers.
The papers highlighted that Daniel did not make a case for a claim that harm is being or may be suffered if the interim protection order is not issued immediately and on an urgent basis.
"The complainant does not show why the protection to be accorded by the interim protection order was not likely to be achieved if prior notice of the application was given to the respondent.
"The complainant's application as a whole is premised on speculation and inadmissible evidence."
In an affidavit seen by News24, Daniel describes years of sabotage and what he calls orchestrated attacks on his business by Mabuza and Mpumalanga state officials to get him to leave the area.
He alleged that in an attempt to engage with the premier in April 2017, Mabuza told him: "That the things he will do when he becomes deputy president of the national ANC in December of that year, was to come after me to expropriate my land and business, without compensation."
But in his court papers – Mabuza says this does not "fall under the definition of harassment and such a danger actually accords with the recently announced policy of the ruling political party in the country".
He says even if there is any truth to the alleged threat which he denies – he could not, even in his official capacity as deputy president of the ANC, single-handedly expropriate the complainant's land and business without compensation.
Mabuza's spokesperson, Zibonele Mncwango, had previously confirmed that the premier was served with the interim protection order, however, he said they disputed the "wild allegations" that Mabuza was behind the so-called campaign to drive Daniel out of business and off his land, News24 reported.
However, Daniel said he has been the target of "attacks" because he has been a whistleblower in the Badplaas land scam, exposing corruption; the involvement of politicians and inflation of land prices in land reform deals. He accused Mabuza's administration of looting the province's land restitution funds.
Daniel is the founder of the Nkomazi, Komati Springs and Cradle of Life projects in the Great Nkomazi River Valley, businesses which he says have lost out on billions of rands worth of investment due to the alleged harassment by the state which he has faced since 2008.
He said Mabuza needed to tell the court under oath why he and/or his political party and/or officials, under his authority, have directly or indirectly used his provincial administration to relentlessly pursue him in an attempt to drive him out of the Great Nkomazi River Valley.
Daniel said Mabuza told him the local communities would turn violent against him.