Mahlangu: I am not ready to face the public
Johannesburg - The bizarre disappearance of student activist Vusi Mahlangu this week continues to be shrouded in mystery.
In a development on Friday afternoon, Mahlangu released a statement confirming that he was safe although injured, but he remained guarded about revealing any more details.
At the same time, Eastern Cape police said they could not confirm Mahlangu had been found since being reported missing on Tuesday and they said they would continue searching for him.
“I am injured and will approach police when I feel safe. I can’t confirm my exact location as yet. I need to guarantee safety,” was Mahlangu’s cryptic statement.
Mahlangu, a member of the Black Students Movement (BSM) and spokesman for #OutsourcingMustFall was last seen leaving a friend’s house in Mthatha, in the Eastern Cape, at around 10am on Tuesday.
In a Twitter post by BSM Mahlangu was said to be heading to a meeting with outsourced workers at Walter Sisulu University but he never arrived.
The last message Mahlangu sent that day, at 4.30pm read: “I am either kidnapped or arrested and I am bleeding in a dark place at Mthatha my phone is about to die.”
Mahlangu is credited with negotiating on behalf of outsourced workers at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), where management started a process to do away with outsourcing and improve the workers’ wages.
He went to the Eastern Cape to assist the outsourced university workers there.
The Marikana Support Campaign on Wednesday claimed Mahlangu was taken from a taxi and forcibly placed into a car which took him to an unknown location, where he was assaulted.
In his statement, Mahlangu thanked the public for their support during the time of his disappearance.
“I think it is due to public pressure that I was released.
“I will make a detailed account of the events after speaking to the police.
“I am not ready to face the public, I hope I will have physical and emotional strength to address workers and media soon,” he added.
The Workers International Vanguard Party (WIVL) yesterday confirmed that Mahlangu was safe, but did not have any more details about his mysterious disappearance.
“WIVL sent an activist into the area to help with the search.
“This morning, Vuyo, a comrade of Vusi, confirmed to us that Vusi has been found,” said Shaheed Mahomed, a member of the WIVL.
Mahomed added that Vusi had been found by a private investigator.
Meanwhile, Mahomed said there was still huge concern surrounding the disappearance of community leader Papi Tobias, who went missing in February.
Papi, from Boiketlong in Sebokeng, Vaal, disappeared six days after he made a bold statement at a highly-charged public meeting about housing.
The 48-year-old father of three was last seen at a tavern in the area.
He’s been at the forefront of service delivery protests in the squatter camp.
“Comrade Papi Tobias, who has been missing since February 6, 2016 is still missing and we fear the worst,” said Mahomed.
“The matter has been brought to the attention of the authorities, but no investigation appears to be happening.”