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High Court Reporter
A WATERKLOOF Heights man and former business partner of controversial property mogul Roux Shabangu is so terrified that the former professional boxer may harm or kill him and his family, that he is set to ask for an urgent interdict against Shabangu.
Johannes (Japie) van Niekerk, a property developer and manager of New Africa Development in Centurion, said that on Monday evening Shabangu sent a threatening SMS in which he “declared war” on him.
It was clear Shabangu intended “blood to flow”, Van Niekerk said. He and his family were so terrified that they had been living as recluses since the SMS.
Van Niekerk said he had no choice but to turn to the Pretoria High Court as he is afraid Shabangu could “[wipe] off” him and his family.
On Tuesday he is to ask for an urgent order interdicting Shabangu from threatening, killing or harming him and his family.
He will also ask that Shabangu be restrained from communicating with or contacting him.
Shabangu is at the centre of the controversial multibillion SAPS lease deal that caused former top cop Bheki Cele his job.
Van Niekerk said in court papers, served on Shabangu this week, that he took the threats to heart. “(Shabangu) is a big and strong man, who weighs more than 130kg and is about two metres tall.
“He is a former boxer and able to harm others. I weigh about 89kg and I am not physically up to defending myself against him.
“I am honestly afraid of him.”
Van Niekerk said his wife is a tiny woman and their son is only five. They are also not able to defend themselves.
The application was sparked by an SMS Van Niekerk allegedly received from Shabangu shortly before 8pm on Monday.
The message reads: “Just wanted to let u know that I’am aware about all dirty things, cruwelty and humiliation u are doing to me for no reason either than greed, jealousy and selfishness. I think it is about time for both of us to declare WAR and let our loved once in case of guaranted and serious caresualities in this WAR because Japie I’m now ENOUGH and I’m Now SEEK and TIRED of ur Dirtyness. LET’S CROSS SORTS (sic)!”
Van Niekerk said his interpretation of this message was that Shabangu had “declared war”, wanted to “cross swords” and that blood would flow.
In fact, he realised that Shabangu intended to kill him and his family, he said.
“We are living in fear, we have lost our appetite and cannot sleep.
“We are frightened by every noise and we look over our shoulders wherever we go.”
Van Niekerk said he had to cancel all his business appointments and could not leave his family. He had installed extra security measures at his home and work.
“(Shabangu) is a controversial figure in the SA business community and I know he will execute his threats…
“The uncertainty [caused by] threats is absolutely indescribable… The only way our lives can return to normal is if the court stepped in.”
Van Niekerk said a court order would hopefully bring Shabangu to his senses.
The pair were not “strangers” as they had been business partners three years ago, Van Niekerk said.
He had not caused Shabangu any harm, he said. He challenged Shabangu to place evidence before court in regard to the “cruelty, humiliation and dirty things” to which he referred in his message. “He had no reason at all to threaten me,” Van Niekerk said.
According to court papers, Shabangu was given until lunch time yesterday to say whether he was going to oppose the application and to file his papers. This was not done.
His spokeswoman, Percy Shabangu, told Pretoria News Shabangu’s lawyer was drawing up his response. It would be filed later.
Asked to comment on the allegations and to state Shabangu’s side, she said they were unable to do so now and could confirm only that they had received the application this week. “Our legal team is studying the document. Unfortunately we will not be able to discuss the matter further as it is sub judice.”