IOL (Special Investigations Unit) 13 January 2020
Johannesburg – Deputy President David Mabuza’s former messenger, Jan Venter, has denied that he laid criminal charges against him to settle personal and political scores at the behest of other people.
Insisting that he was not a hired gun out to discredit and destroy Mabuza, Venter told Independent Media on Friday that he laid charges against the former Mpumalanga premier of corruption, bribery and money laundering in May 2018, because he wanted the truth about his former boss to be known.
He accused Mabuza of having paid him R2.5million in monthly tranches of between R40 000 and R100 000 to do his dirty work, lie under oath against ANC veteran Mathews Phosa and move money and guns around for years, until their falling out last year.
Venter said he approached the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) two years ago to hand himself over – “not to cut a deal” – for his alleged criminal activities with Mabuza because he wanted to repent and be forgiven by God.
“Mabuza asked me to say I saw Phosa draft a spy report against him, and I lied about it because he asked me to. But I am not innocent. Not at all. I am as guilty as Mabuza. That’s why I drove to the Hawks. I thought it was much safer for me being in jail than being outside here,” Venter said.
“In the past, on many occasions, I dropped off bags with money. I don’t know how many times there were guns inside. I don’t know how many times I might have been the reason for somebody being killed.”
The Hawks confirmed on Sunday that they were investigating a case of corruption and money laundering, but declined to reveal who the main suspect was.
Spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale said: “The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations can confirm that a case of corruption and money laundering has been opened at SAPS Nelspruit which emanated from an inquiry which was already being investigated by the DPCI. The investigation is continuing at this stage and it would be premature of the DPCI to divulge who is implicated in the case as such.”
However, in his progress report sent to Venter on December 19, Hawks investigator Colonel Herby Heap said via a text message seen by Independent Media this week: “1. Your matter has been received back from the NPA. 2. It has been requested that further statements be obtained. 3. Further financial analysis must also be conducted. 4. The matter has been registered in Nelspruit CAS 250/12/2019. 5. Kindly note that as it is the festive season and possible witnesses are not available. Your next progress report will be in mid-January 2020.”
Mabuza’s spokesperson Thamsanqa Ngwenya said the matter had already been aired in open court, where Venter’s credibility and evidence were tested and brought into serious question.
“Therefore, making the same allegations in 2020 is not only absurd, but delusional. It is unimaginable as to why anyone would want to rehash these old matters, except if the intention is to besmirch the name, character and societal standing of Deputy President David Mabuza.”
“Any questions on Hawks investigations must be directed to them or the Minister of Police,” he said.
This came as Mabuza ruffled feathers ahead of the ANC’s January 8 celebrations in Kimberley last week when he accused Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and Eskom board chairperson Jabu Mabuza of having misled President Cyril Ramaphosa about the state of the power utility and the potential for further load shedding.
Jabu Mabuza resigned on Friday as organisations such as Cosatu, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) and EFF called on Gordhan to resign or be fired. Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko hit back at Mabuza, saying no-one had misled the president.
Ramaphosa also pulled out of his presidential Golf Challenge on Thursday as the Eskom crisis overshadowed the ANC’s annual gathering, citing fatigue. ANC treasurer Paul Mashatile denied that Mabuza’s utterances signalled widespread divisions within the governing party’s top leadership amid rumours that Ramaphosa’s rivals planned to topple him at the party’s national general council in June.
Venter, a self-confessed crook and liar, who previously admitted to being paid by Mabuza to fabricate stories about Phosa, opened criminal charges against the deputy president in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, in May 2018.
Mabuza and Phosa are bitter rivals in the provincial ANC. Venter is also Phosa’s former butler, who was fired following a bitter falling out. Testifying for Mabuza in his defamation case against Phosa at North Gauteng High Court in June 2015, Venter said under oath that the former ANC treasurer was behind a dossier which labelled Mabuza a former apartheid spy.
However, he later confirmed it was a lie and blamed Mabuza for it. He publicly withdrew his claims against Phosa and said they had made “peace”.
In an interview in Midrand this week, Venter insisted that the public should believe him this time around because he had overwhelming evidence against Mabuza.
He denied claims that he was being used to settle political scores against the deputy president. “All I want is the truth. I don’t want lies from anyone. I want Mabuza to tell the truth. Why did Mabuza phone me on record on my phone a month and a half ago?
“He spoke to me for 18 minutes, tried to convince me, promised me a house, a car and money to withdraw the case against him. If you are not guilty, will you promise a person all this? He said as friends, I would buy you anything you want. Just withdraw the charges.”
He confirmed that he had worked for Mabuza against Phosa, but denied that he had switched allegiance. “I am not working for anybody to discredit Mabuza. All I want is, I want myself vindicated, because remember in the tabloids how many times he said I was a liar? I want the truth to come out, so that I am vindicated, so that people know that Jan Venter made a mistake, because I did. I was the one that said ‘I lied’,” Venter added.
Political analyst Xolani Dube, of the Xubera Institute, said while Venter’s allegations would harm Mabuza’s image and political career further, he was a “dead-living deputy president” because the Ramaphosa faction did not trust him, while the Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma faction he betrayed at Nasrec wanted nothing to do with him.
“Whatever he is going to try, I don’t think it would work because his real crime is the mistake that he made in Nasrec. His days are numbered in the ANC. The only thing he can do is use Eskom to hoodwink the public to endear himself to the factions that are uniting against him. His statement about Eskom misleading Ramaphosa was just political preservation by attacking those who are aligned to the president.”