Despite attempts by activists, the police and the courts to curb corruption in South Africa, politicians stealing the aspirations of millions of people are rewarded with top positions in government. We take a look at the Deputy President of South Africa D.D. Mabuza and his rise to power using fake land claims.
Rehana Rossouw in her new book tells the story of corruption and one man – Fred Daniel an astute businessman who made his fortune in software and then made it his life mission to establish a conservation and tourism project in the Mpumalanga area. Buying land and setting in motion initiatives that would empower and employ thousands of people in the Badplaas area, only to be sabotaged by corrupt politicians.
One of the most shocking schemes was the government secretly handing over the management of National parks in Mpumalanga to a company in Dubai.
In 1996, the Mpumalanga Parks Board signed a R25-billion deal with the Dubai-based company Dolphin Group, handing over control of all of the province’s publicly owned reserves. Dolphin Group also tried to buy large quantities of arms from the Ministry of Defence. Despite widespread evidence of corruption, only one low-ranking official in South Africa was convicted.
READ MORE: Phosa pushed Dolphin arms deal
In Fred Daniel’s case, the politicians’ strategy was simple. Despite Fred’s research and diligence to ensure any land he bought had no land claims, as soon as improvements were made on the land mysterious and fake land claims would surface.
The attempts by corrupt politicians to grab his nature reserve in Mpumalanga included vandalism, arson, smears and death threats. The driving force behind the campaign against Fred, came from Sonnyboy Maphanga and his business associate the Deputy President of South Africa D.D. Mabuza, who presided over several departments in the province before he ascended to the position of the second most powerful politician in the country.
Rebecca Davis of The Daily Maverick interviewed Rehana Rossouw on her new book, Predator Politics: Mabuza, Fred Daniel and the Great Land Scam.
Fred Daniel had valiantly won more than twenty cases over the past fifteen years in magistrates’ and high courts where his claims of corruption-related harassment were found credible. The North Gauteng High Court will be hearing his damages claim against D.D. Mabuza, government departments and officials amounting to more than R1 billion in June 2021. This stems from Fred’s exposure of fraudulent land scams allegedly orchestrated by the Deputy President.
At great personal cost, Fred and his family stood up to corruption. They endured the loss of a livelihood and their home – and the fear that follows when the government places a target on the back of a citizen blowing the whistle on its misdeeds. Fred will not back down. For him, failure is not an option.
READ MORE: The lying president Cyril Ramaphosa