Mabuza's past in spotlight as conservationist's R1bn civil case heads to court

Deputy President David Mabuza is being accused of releasing henchmen on conservationist Fred Daniel when he was still the Mpumalanga premier.

Deputy President David Mabuza during a question and answer session in the National Assembly on 9 December 2021. Picture: @PresidencyZA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Conservationist Fred Daniel's R1 billion civil case against the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency and 24 government entities is going to court, with Deputy President David Mabuza seemingly at the centre of the allegations.

The deputy president is being accused of releasing henchmen on Daniel when Mabuza was still the Mpumalanga premier.

At the time, Daniel was busy with a conservation project that was aimed at creating jobs and attracting tourists more than a decade ago.

But Daniel was hit with a land claim for the area where he started his conservation project on after he had spent half-a-billion rand on it.

His lawyers established that the claim was apparently fake and they alleged that politicians, including Mabuza, were not happy when Daniel refused to accept the land claim.

Daniel said that his life was then threatened by Mabuza.

"He phoned me one day and told me I had to admit the land claim otherwise he couldn't protect my life, he couldn't protect the property. I was horrified. They tried to bomb the petrol station and the police told us they were instructed not to come and help us when a crowd of people bust in in Middelburg. They weren't even land claimants," Daniels said.

For security reasons, the case will be heard virtually in the Pretoria High Court on Thursday.

Mabuza has not yet responded to the claims.