A woman who caused a storm when she alleged that Deputy President David Mabuza was involved in an apparent conspiracy to murder a Mpumalanga businessman, has been arrested.
The 31-year-old, who had masqueraded as Mabuza's niece, was arrested on Wednesday for fraud, forgery and defeating the ends of justice, said Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi.
She is expected to appear in Nelspruit Magistrate's Court on Friday.
In an exclusive in November last year, News24's investigation uncovered the real identity of 'Thandeka Mabuza'.
'Thandeka' cannot be named in this report until she has appeared in court.
In a sworn statement last year, she claimed to have stumbled upon a hit list in the deputy president's diary on November 6, 2018. A page from Mabuza's diary was the alleged 'proof' of an assassination plot he had orchestrated.
The alleged victim was Fred Daniel, the owner of the Mpumalanga eco-tourist attraction Cradle of Life, and a business partner of ANC stalwart Dr Mathews Phosa.
Daniel and Mabuza have been embroiled in a public spat since 2009. Daniel had an interim protection order against Mabuza, who he claimed was behind a plot to intimidate him and sabotage his business.
"Thandeka's" statement detailed how she attempted to contact Daniel to warn him about the plot but when she could not get hold of him, she travelled to the Democratic Alliance offices in Nelspruit for their assistance.
News24 understands that members of the DA assisted her and put her in touch with a City Press journalist, who in turn made contact with Daniel.
Daniel urgently approached the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria for an interdict against Mabuza and two other alleged assassins.
Mulaudzi said they launched an investigation into the assassination claims in November.
"The alleged incident is purported to have happened in the police precinct of Sandton, which resulted in the opening of a criminal docket at Sandton police station," he said.
"The investigation team needed to interview the complainant as the original statement was not recorded by the police. It became difficult to trace the complainant as those who interacted with her, were also unable to locate her."
News24 reported that Mabuza was in Russia for 15 days, for what his office tried to explain was a routine medical check-up, in the period of the alleged plot.
"It became clear that the statement may not be truthful but a possible fabrication, including her relationship with the deputy president," said Mulaudzi.
Investigators consulted with other government departments for verification.
"It is also worth to mention that the investigators became aware of the identity of the suspect and kept an eye on her while embarking on a search for the real person whose details were used in fabricating the affidavit."
Detectives uncovered that huge amounts of money were ostensibly paid to the deponent, coincidentally after the affidavit was made.
"An identification parade was held today (Thursday) and the persons to whom the suspect made a report, who happen to be employed by a political party, positively identified her.
"The suspect has further made a confession before the magistrate. She is currently in custody."
Mulaudzi said the investigation, "which is a systematic search for the truth", continued.
They did not yet know the reason for the deposing of the "false statement".
Hawks boss, Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya, welcomed the arrest: "I would like to commend the team for staying focused under tremendous pressure to follow a particular course. Those that may have been uncomfortable with providing information will appreciate the help that came as a result of the information provided. I call upon the public to continue to provide the police with information that can help solve crime."