Wednesday, 21 October 2020 22:41

Predator Politics: Mabuza,Fred Daniel and the Great Land Scam.


By Rehana Rossouw.

Do we want him as our next president?

Having stolen the aspirations of millions of people, Jacob Zuma enabled state pillage estimated to be in the region of R1.5 trillion.Pliant politicians, hangers-on, connected families and assorted others were rewarded with high office, tenders and parastals.

Fred Daniel, one citizen among many who have been targeted by predator politicians, stood up against this plague of corruption. The retaliation he faced after attempts by allegedly corrupt politicians to grab his nature reserve in Mpumalanga included vandalism,arson, smears and death threats. His nemesis is Deputy President David Dadebe Mabuza, who presided over several departments in the province before he ascended to the position of second most powerful politician in the country.

Fred bought 89 farms, degraded by decades of asbestos mining and poor agricultural practices, and built his dream, the Nkomazi Wilderness Reserve. With commitment and hard work, he healed the land by clearing it and rehabilitating its ecosystems and habitats. Wild animals returned. Kerzner International planned to build a seven-star safari lodge on the reserve, rating it as a unique location of outstanding natural beauty. All of these plans came to naught when politicians saw an opportunity to seek rent.

Fred has won more than twenty cases over the past fifteen years in magistrates and high courts where his claims of corruption-related harassment were found credible. The North Gauteng High Court is hearing his damages claim against Mabuza, government departments and officials amounting to more than R1 billion. It stems from Fred’s exposure of fraudulent land scams allegedly orchestrated by Mabuza, where the poor were cheated out of a future.

At great personal cost, Fred and his family stood up to corruption. They endured the loss of a livelihood and home. They live in fear because of the retaliation whistleblowers face. Fred will not back down. For him, failure is not an option.

Rehana Rossouw, a journalist for three decades, has a master’s degree in creative writing from Wits University. Her first novel, What Will People Say?, won the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS) prize for fiction in 2017. Her second novel, New Times, was longlisted for the Sunday Times Literary Awards in 2018.

Predator Politics was supported by a Henry Nxumalo Grant, which is funded by the Millennium Trust and managed by the Wits Journalism Department. It is dedicated to all the journalists who tell stories that hold the political mafia to account.