Deputy President of the African National Congress and Premier of Mpumalanga David Mabuza has this week been served with a temporary protection order which has ordered him to stop harassing and intimidating a local businessman.
The order against Mabuza was granted in the Carolina Magistrate’s court on Wednesday and served on the premier’s office on the same day.
Mabuza has been asked to appear in court on February 19 to give reasons why the court should not issue a final protection order.
If Mabuza does not comply with the provisions of the interim order, which includes his not being able to use any state department to sabotage the claimant’s business, he can immediately be arrested.
In an affidavit seen by News24 the complainant Frederick Coenraad Daniel, a businessman and conservationist in the Cradle of Life Reserve in Badplaas, Mpumalanga, describes years of sabotage and what he calls orchestrated attacks on his business at the hands of Mabuza and Mpumalanga state officials to get him to leave the area.
He said 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.”
Mabuza’s spokesperson Zibonele Mncwango 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.
Mncwango said Mabuza would challenge the court interdict.
Daniel says he has been the target of “attacks” because he has been a whistle-blower 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 provinces 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 has lost out on billions of rand 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 actions have been taken to assassinate his character, block, frustrate, sabotage his business and deny him service delivery in order to collapse and destroy his business.
“Because I am seen to be anti-corruption, the respondent himself [Mabuza] has directly and indirectly retaliated against me on many occasions, which included threatening me both directly and indirectly,” Daniel said.
Daniel said Mabuza told him the local communities would turn violent against him.
“Put simply, the Mpumalanga province has been stolen and sold to the highest bidder by the respondent who controls it like a mafia boss,” he said in the affidavit.
Daniel said the harassment against him was done using various state departments and civil servants were threatened that if they did not act against him they could lose their jobs and their lives.
This meant, he said, that the resources of the entire province were co-ordinated against him. He accused provincial departments including water affairs, labour, agriculture, safety and security, the local ANC, land claimants and known criminals in the area of attempting to collapse his business.
Daniel said that from August 2008 when Mabuza became the chairperson of the ANC in Mpumalanga, “Various bold and unlawful retaliations were planned and executed” against him by the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA).
He said that unlawful raids were planned with precision and executed against him with the sole intention to destroy his reputation and they were then used as an excuse to withhold the issuing of approved animal permits.
He said the Regional Land Claims Commissioner (RLCC) and the MTPA were in a state of paralyzes due to political interference.
Daniel said the RLCC project manager testified under oath that he was blocked from performing key land claim verification processes and that civil servants like the MTPA senior manager in charge of permits had his life and career threatened and that he was asked to destroy documents and block permits.
“Provincial officials are being forced under pain of death to implement the unlawful instructions of politicians,” he said.
He said compromised civil servants who are trying to preserve their jobs were allegedly falsifying reports, falsifying minutes, requesting the police to destroy official documents and framing him.
“It has created an unlawful parallel state that circumvents the constitutional state. This is maintained through death threats, violence, terror, harassment, and victimization where the interests of a few powerful individuals are put before the rest of citizens,” he said.
Daniel said that the corruption, collusion, theft of public funds, political interference and harassment has been so severe that it has hollowed out the ability of vital state organs to provide the public and private business with services.
He accused Mabuza of meeting land claimants and setting up a committee “dedicated to violence” – the Greater Badplaas Land Claims Committee (GBLCC) – which he was the chair of while being the MEC for Agriculture. Daniel said this committee had unleashed mayhem in the area.
Daniel also accused Mabuza of personally threatening him during a phone call, telling him to admit to the land claims or his life would be in danger.
He described a protest in the area in 2008 where a group of protestors bussed in from another area, staged a violent protest. Daniel said they were led by a councilor who said he was taking instructions from Mabuza.
Police he said was told to leave the area and were told not to get involved as it was a political matter. Only one policeman was left on duty at the Badplaas police station.
The crowd barricaded the road and stopped all traffic.
Forensic investigators later discovered the protestors had been paid to attack his business and were given free brandy and dagga the night before Daniel said. They pulled down kilometers of fencing around the Cradle of Life.
They also attempted to bomb a petrol station, he said.
Daniel said Mabuza arrived at the scene to praise the rioters and he told them they would get their land back before telling them to go home.
Daniel said that over the years there have been threats on his life, business, staff, and family. There were attempts to set fire to his lodge, that poor and vulnerable communities were incited to violence and there were attempts to force access to the land as a precursor to expropriate the land.
“I was notified by concerned ANC members that I had been placed on a hit list by the provincial ANC and my life was on the line,” Daniel said.
Mncwango said that any insinuation that the premier, both in his government and political role had influenced the decisions of government institutions to disadvantage Daniel was not true.
“These are malicious allegations against the premier intended to tarnish his image.”
“The alleged intimidation on the person of Mr. Daniel by the premier, and the manner in which this matter is presented is viewed as an abuse of court processes, which is being assessed by the premier’s legal team,” Mncwango said.
He said Mabuza had sought legal advice and could not comment any further.