A bishop who branded Deputy President David Mabuza a murderer has been evading Mpumalanga police in the past three months since Mabuza laid a crimen injuria charge against him.
Bishop Hangwi Maumela has, according to police, reneged on his promise to hand himself over and is no longer answering the cellphone number the police initially used to contacted him.
Mabuza laid a crimen injuria charge after Maumela made outrageous allegations on July 28 during an ANC meeting in Embalenhle near Secunda that he was a murderer and that Premier Refilwe Mtsweni was his girlfriend.
Maumela, who campaigned for President Cyril Ramaphosa to be ANC president, was captured addressing campaigns of candidates who wanted to take over as Mabuza’s successors.
Although allegations that Mabuza was behind a string of killings have been circulating since he became Mpumalanga premier in 2009, it is the first time that he has laid a charge against anyone.
And no one has laid a charge against Mabuza even though allegations have been peddled that he had a hand in political killings in the province.
Maumela’s speech was captured on video and circulated on social media.
“We need people who have a vision … who have made it in their lives without killing other people … comrades who have made it in their lives without victimising, sleeping around and doing all those things.
"We can’t have a murderer as a deputy president and then you have the girlfriend of a murderer as a premier. It doesn’t work that way. We need a man of integrity,” Maumela said.
Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said Maumela initially told police that he would hand himself over in the presence of his attorney, but he did not do so.
“He is no longer available on the phone [number] we have. We’ve gone on a manhunt. Evading arrest is a matter that will be dealt with in court,” Hlathi said.
Police officers first pressed the panic button about their shortcoming in getting hold of Maumela in a media statement last month.
Last week City Press tried contacting the bishop on his cellphone, but it went to voicemail.
Maumela did not respond to questions that were emailed or questions put to him in his Facebook inbox.
On August 31 he posted on his timeline that he had lost his cellphone and was requesting his friends to inbox him their contact details.
Maumela’s facebook account indicates that he last posted on October 24.
The charges have not stopped him from posting about Mabuza. On September 26 he posted: “DD Mabuza he is a fool and big one.”
Maumela also posted a video of Mabuza and captioned it: “Gangster mentality it must fall.”
In the video Mabuza talks about the ANC’s disastrous showing in the 2016 local government elections.
He said: “We’ve been hurt … We can’t afford, after this, to give this thing [leadership position] to someone who is going to play with it. We’ll beat him to die now.”
Mabuza’s spokesperson, Thami Ngwenya, said Mabuza was not worried about Maumela’s disappearance and had trust in the police.
“The matter is with the law enforcement agencies and the deputy president has confidence in these institutions of the state and their independence.
"He believes that they will fulfil their constitutional mandate in the best interest of justice and in accordance with the laws of the land,” Ngwenya said.
Shortly after laying the charge, Mabuza said it [the charge] was an opportunity to deal with the matter once and for all.
“Finally, somebody [has] stood up in the open and I felt that, probably, this was an opportunity ... to give the courts and the public evidence. This is the best opportunity ever for me and everyone else to clear this.”
LEGACY DEFINED BY POLITICAL KILLINGS
Mabuza’s legacy as Mpumalanga ANC chairperson and premier has been tarnished by persistent allegations that he was responsible for political murders.
The allegations started spreading after the death of city of Mbombela speaker Jimmy Mohlala in January 2009.
Mohlala was ambushed and shot dead at his home in KaNyamazane outside Mbombela.
He was on a crusade to expose corruption in the R1.2 billion Mbombela Stadium tenders.
Mabuza was allegedly directly linked in a purported affidavit that then Mpumalanga ANC Youth League leader James Nkambule – now dead – distributed.
The affidavit, allegedly written by a Mozambican hitman named Josh, portrayed Mabuza as a murderer.