THREE members of Parliament and opposition leaders have been getting death threats over their stand that President Cyril Ramaphosa must fully account for the Phala Phala robbery - where undisclosed amount of dollars were stolen - as well as his failure to lead the country correctly.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe yesterday confirmed that ATM leader Vuyolwethu Zungula and PAC President Mzwandile Nyontso had lodged complaints after receiving threatening text messages.
Mathe said police were investigating cases of “intimidation through a cellular phone”.
“The investigation was escalated for investigation purposes to a Political Violence Task Team attached to the Serious Violent Crimes Unit,” she said.
Zungula yesterday said he received the latest threatening text message on July 4, just hours after he announced that his party was taking acting Public Prosecutor Kholeka Gcaleka’s report on review.
Gcaleka exonerated Ramaphosa from any wrongdoing in the Phala Phala scandal and three political parties, the ATM, DA and EFF, are taking her report on review because they believe it is a “whitewash”.
Zungula said it was shocking that someone decided to send threatening messages to members of Parliament in order to intimidate them.
“Once members of Parliament are intimidated and threatened for doing what they are expected to do in the National Assembly, we have become a banana republic and our hard fought democracy has gone to the dogs.
“The most alarming fact is that we are getting these death threats at the time when there is a rise in political killings in our country and our police don’t seem to have the political will to solve them,” Zungula said.
The text message that Zungula received on July 4, 2023 at 10.44am says: “You have dug ur own grave cos u talk 2 much watch ur Zungula…we on u chief.” The message came a day after Zungula told media houses that the ATM was taking Gcaleka’s report on review.
This was not the first time Zungula received a threatening text message. He received the first one in January 2021 after the ATM announced that it was bringing a motion of no confidence in Parliament against Ramaphosa.
“We decided to bring the motion of no confidence against the president for his poor performance, lack of decisive leadership and failure to deliver on his promises to our people. We felt it was necessary to hold him accountable,” Zungula said.
On January 30, 2021 at 7.24pm, Zungula received the following text message: “Hey chief thina we’ve been watching u 1st it ws a formation of your party then vote of no confidence now is the funding of the parties…u playing with fire n we watching ur moves…watch ur back chief…nx!”
And on February 4, 2021 at 1.35pm, he received another text message which said: “We are not playing with u chief we still say watch ur back Zungula.”
Zungula said after he opened the case about these text messages, police told him that they could not investigate the matter.
“Police simply told me that they can’t investigate the case because they don’t have a system within the SAPS to track down those that were sending me those text messages.
“It is becoming a norm and brazen now to intimidate members of Parliament. General Holomisa and Nyontso were also threatened for doing their jobs,” Zungula said.
Nyontso told Sunday Independent yesterday that on December 12, 2022 - the night before Parliament was to vote on the Independent Panel report which was chaired by retired chief justice Sandile Ngcobo, which concluded that Ramaphosa may have a case to answer on the Phala Phala scandal - he received a text message at 10.24pm which said: “We are warning you HOLOMISA ANd NYONTSO. Should you back the African Transformation Movement vote or motion tomorrow, we will deal with you. Your days of living are numbered.”
Nyontso phoned police and they took a statement from him the following morning as well as his cellphone which he had not received back since December.
Mathe yesterday confirmed that police were also investigating Nyontso’s case.
“He did open a case of intimidation. The matter is still under investigation. In endeavouring to protect the integrity of the investigation, the SAPS will not comment on Items seized or intended to be seized for investigation purposes.” Mathe said.
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa, confirmed that he also received a threatening text message on December 12, 2022 but decided not to report the matter to police because “I don’t have any confidence in those chaps.”
“Look, Nyontso reported the matter to police but more than three months later, still nothing happened. The message was sent from a number which is easy to trace and we all know the ANC guys, especially those in the state security, have access to these bogus numbers,” Holomisa said.