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ANC, POLICE slam premier raid rumour

The African National Congress (ANC) and police in Mpumalanga issued what is probably the harshest statement in defence of the organisation’s provincial chairperson who is also the Premier of the province, David “DD” Mabuza.

Both statements condemn those behind a rumour that has been circulating in the province claiming that police had raided the premier’s farm residence in Barberton on Monday morning.

The raid, which allegedly took place at about 5 am and continued until 7pm, while the Premier was away, was allegedly carried out by the South African Secret Services (SASS).

According to an SMS which was circulated to media houses in Mpumalanga, millions of rands, state issued fire arms and illegal firearms were recovered during the raid.

The Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA), prohibits money laundering, and it if is true that such large sums of money was kept in Mabuza’s residence he may be culpable for prosecution for the contravention of the Act.

The ANC, however, believes that its chairperson is not capable of such criminal acts.

“Some faceless individuals have gone to an extent of manufacturing and distributing cellular phone SMSes that even suggest what have allegedly been found by the police during the alleged raid at Cde Mabuza’s residence, which suggest amongst others millions of rands, fire-arms and incriminating documents. We do not believe that the Provincial Chairperson of the ANC is capable of keeping such illegal things at his place, let alone being in possession there-of,” said the ANC in a statement.

Ziwaphi’s independent investigation, however, found that the SASS does not have the mandate to conduct raids nor to gather intelligence within the country, but to gather and analyse foreign intelligence in order to identify any external threat or potential threat to the security of the country.

The spokesperson of the Provincial Commissioner, Captain Learonard Hlathi, also issued a stern warning against those who started the rumour.

“On Wednesday 05 May 2010, an SMS was circulated with damning accusations against the Premier, that … we have recovered R45 million, a couple of thousand rands, 8 illegal firearms including two AK47, ammunitions, passports, IDs and other documents,”

“We are sending a strong warning to such a person to stop accusing the Premier and use the name of the police  to further his / her interests.

Hlathi, however, has previously denied the existence of alleged hit man and Mozambican national known to South Africans as “Josh” [his real name withheld], while the office of the National Commissioner of Police was reported in the national newspapers as having interviewed the alleged assassin. Prompting suggestions that there is no integration of the activities national and provincial law enforcement agencies.

A Sunday newspaper reported three weeks ago that “Josh” signed a sworn statement in front of a court judge.

Josh “came out” earlier this year after an attempt on his life, allegedly by one of his clients. In his affidavit, he names past and present politicians and a soccer administrator of a well-known South African soccer team as his clients.

“I was hired to be a cleaner. Being a cleaner means eliminating business and political opponents of both Mr X and Mr Y,” he says in an affidavit. [Names withheld to protect the identity of the people against whom the allegations are made].

According to the ANC statement, the organisation made its own enquiries with the law enforcement agencies, but they denied that the raid took place, and the organisation called on the police to investigate the origins of the rumours and to arrest whoever was involved.

“We call on the police to urgently investigate the origins of the rumours and the smses and arrest the individuals who might be involved in such mischievous acts. We cannot allow or tolerate a situation where Mpumalanga province is always portrayed as a province that is plugged by crime, corruption and lawlessness when the reality is that the opposite is true,” the ANC said.

Mabuza’s spokesperson, Mabutho Sithole dismissed speculations that the Premier’s absence from the launch of Comair flights between OR Tambo International and Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) on Monday was linked to the alleged raid.

He told Ziwaphi that the Premier would not be diverted by the rumours and that he was continuing with his normal programme. He said that on Monday, at the time of the alleged raid, he was having a meeting with the 2010 FIFA World Cup Local Organising Committee led by Danny Jordan, and on Wednesday he was at a Cabinet outreach programme in Standerton.

He, however, also called on the law enforcement agencies to investigate the origins of the rumour.

Mpumalanga province has been attracting negative media publicity of late, including assassination of high profile personalities who are speaking out against corruption.

These include the disappearance of Joshua Ntsuhle, the former Chief Financial Officer of the Govan Mbeki Municipality, as well as Thandy Mtsweni, who was deputy mayor of the Govan Mbeki local municipality in who was assassinated in June 2007.

Last year, the Speaker of the Mbombela Local Municipality, Jimmy Mohlala was also gunned down in his house at KaNyamazane, and the head of communication in the department of culture, sports and recreation, Sammy Mpatlanyane was also killed mysteriously in January this year.

No one has ever been arrested for these murders.

“Josh” confesses to at least one of the hits, that of Jimmy Mohlala in his affidavit.

Police have issued a R100 000 reward for information that will lead to the arrest of his killers.

At the time of going to print, a report reached Ziwaphi that SACP member who has been in the forefront of the party’s anti-corruption campaign was also gunned down in Bethal on Wednesday.

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