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BREAKING NEWS: ANC activist missing after “CR17” bribery claims

Phadima Fukula went missing after opening a criminal case of corruption against Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane and a senior judge.

Phadima Fukula went missing after opening a criminal case of corruption against Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane and a senior judge.

Published Apr 30, 2021

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DURBAN - WHISTLEBLOWER Phadima Fukula, who made corruption allegations and opened a criminal case against Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane and a senior judge, has gone missing.

On March 30 this year, Fukula reported a criminal complaint against Mabuyane and the judge in the East London Police station - CAS 579/3/2021. In his statement seen by the Daily News, Fukula said in 2016 he was working as an ANC branch level activist in the East London area, leading campaigns ahead of the 2017 ANC elective conference at Nasrec, Johannesburg.

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Among other tasks, Fukula claimed he was sent to deliver R5 million to the judge.

Fukula went missing without a trace on April 9 after apparently being summoned to the East London police station by an investigating officer who allegedly wanted to interrogate Fukula and required more evidence to substantiate his claims.

The Hawks have confirmed that a case was opened and that the matter is currently under investigation.

“Unfortunately, we cannot provide any further information on the matter as it is too sensitive at this stage,” said Eastern Cape Hawks spokesperson Captain Yolisa Mgolodela.

On Friday morning, the Hawks in the Eastern Cape asked the public to assist them in finding Fukula.

According to a statement issued by the Hawks, “it is believed that he (Fukula) will assist in unlocking the allegation of intimidation and corruption carried out by the by Serious Corruption Investigation team in East London.”

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“A case of intimidation was reportedly opened in East London on March 30, 2021 of which Fukula is said to be a witness. The team interviewed him on April 9, 2021 in East London, he requested a short break and never returned,” the Hawks said.

The Hawks’ Serious Corruption Investigation team is appealing to anyone who might shed light on his whereabouts to come forward. The information will be treated with the strictest confidentiality and must be conveyed to Colonel Patric Matroos on 071 481 2890.

Fukula reported a criminal complaint against Mabuyane and the judge in the East London Police station - CAS 579/3/2021. Screenshot supplied

Mabuyane’s office has denied the allegations against him and the judge’s spokesperson has not commented despite questions being sent to him earlier this week and numerous telephone calls.

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According to Fukula’s police statement, he was allegedly approached by a comrade who introduced him to Mabuyane who, at a meeting, allegedly requested Fukula be part of his campaign team for the ‘CR17’ and promised to reward him in return for his co-operation.

Fukula joined the campaign which he said required them to travel to other provinces to allegedly buy votes leading to the Nasrec conference.

“Around July 2017, we received instruction from Mr Mabuyane to deliver money to Rustenburg in the North West and that we were to meet him there,” read Fukula’s statement.

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He also alleged this money was handed over to him and his fellow comrade at a mansion in an unknown suburb in Rustenburg. This, according to his statement, happened in the presence of two Cabinet ministers who were apparently aware of the task.

Prior to delivering the money, which was allegedly in a black leather bag filled with R100 and R200 notes, the bag was opened for them to see before they met the recipient. Fukula further alleged that Mabuyane lectured them on how to conduct themselves when delivering the money to the judge.

“Mabuyane emphasized that I should be most careful and show the utmost respect to this person who was a judge. He stated that this judge was one of the people who was assisting them in legal battles that were happening with branches that were being taken to court. He said that this judge was influencing other judges in other courts on how matters were being decided in our favour,” read the statement.

Fukula allegedly gave the bag to the judge who was driving a dark Toyota SUV and added that at the time he had no idea who the judge was until he saw him on television.

Fukula’s aunt Ntombekhaya Ncamiso said they lived in fear and were continuously harassed by different armed men claiming to be investigators looking for Fukula. She said they reported to police that Fukula was missing and was feared dead.

“They constantly come at night banging our doors and search our house without producing any document authorising the search. They threatened to beat me up when I asked why they were harassing us,” said Ncamiso.

Mgolodela confirmed they were investigating a missing person’s case.

Mabuyane’s spokesperson Mvusiwekhaya Sicwetsha called Fukula’s claims “frivolous”.

“The Premier heard about the allegations from social media but has never been contacted by the police. He is aware that the Hawks are also probing people about the matter, and he is happy that the police will be able to establish facts on the matter because people are creating fictions to damage his reputation,” said Sicwetsha.

The judge’s spokesperson was emailed questions, which were also followed up with WhatsApp texts and telephone calls throughout the week, with no response.

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