The curious case of David Mabuza’s fake niece

2019-01-22 00:03

Further startling details are emerging about the woman who caused a storm after she implicated Deputy President David Mabuza in an assassination plot.

Nomfundo Sambo (31), who masqueraded as Mabuza’s niece Thandeka Mabuza, wrote a sworn statement on November 8 last year, alleging that the deputy president was plotting to kill nature conservationist Fred Daniel.

Sambo is due to appear in court on Tuesday, after she was arrested for being in possession of burglary instruments last month.

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi confirmed that Sambo would be appearing in the Nelspruit Magistrates’ Court this week.

He, however, declined to reveal details about how the police found Sambo with the instruments, or if they had been used in any burglaries.

“She was found in possession of burglary instruments in the Nelspruit policing precinct,” was all Hlathi could say.

Sambo could also soon be facing a charge relating to defaming Mabuza in her affidavit.

Again, all Hlathi could say was: “We have a defamation of character case we’re investigating, but we can’t say much about it.”

Mabuza’s spokesperson Thami Ngwenya said late last year that the deputy president reported the matter to the police after reading the affidavit.

City Press understands that both police detectives and the Hawks launched investigations when Sambo’s affidavit became public.

One witness confirmed to City Press that he had been interviewed by officers from both units.

“Something is just not right about the way this case is being investigated. I made a statement to the Hawks, and the detectives started afresh and took their own statement,” the witness said.

Police are trying to ascertain Sambo’s motives for making the bogus statement.

City Press has been told by two sources close to the investigation that police were trying to trace two payments amounting to about R750 000, which were allegedly deposited into Sambo’s account after she deposed the affidavit.

In the affidavit, Sambo claimed she was Mabuza’s niece and worked as Mabuza’s assistant in his Johannesburg home.

She claimed to have come across information in Mabuza’s diary that she suspected was a hit list.

The diary, she wrote, had seven entries and the third one was Daniel’s cellphone number and a location in Badplaas.

Daniel’s Cradle of Life – a nature conservation project – is situated in Badplaas.

She claimed that she saw the diary after Mabuza had a meeting with two men she believed were hitmen.

Sambo alleged that she then called a friend for advice on what to do and the friend told her to take the matter to the DA or the Economic Freedom Fighters.

Sambo went to the DA and later met a City Press journalist. She also tried calling Daniel.

Mabuza and Daniel have a long-standing legal feud. Daniel is still trying to obtain a protection order against Mabuza for allegedly influencing government officials to sabotage his ecotourism business by withholding permits and licences to keep animals.

He obtained an interim protection order against Mabuza early last year, but his application for a permanent order was dismissed in the Carolina Magistrates’ Court. He is appealing that decision.

He had hoped that Sambo’s affidavit would amplify his case, but it has become unreliable because Mabuza was in Russia at the time she claims he was in South Africa.

Daniel has since opened a case of conspiracy to commit murder against Mabuza and the two men Sambo portrayed as “gangsters” in her affidavit.

Another dent in Sambo’s story is that she is a controversial character.

Information has come to light that Sambo is a former school clerk in Mpunzana Primary School, situated in Shabalala Trust near Hazyview. She was fired for absconding from work on September 30 2009, when allegations of fraud against her surfaced.

The Mpumalanga department of education confirmed this allegation and said Sambo absconded from work to avoid disciplinary action. The department could not provide specific details about the fraud allegations.

Further investigations have shed light on claims that Sambo allegedly previously used Thandeka’s name to open a store account.

Thandeka was born on October 24 1986 and her residential address is listed in Mahushu near Hazyview. Sambo was born in the same month, but a year later, and lists the same Hazyview residential address, as well as another in Kagiso, west of Johannesburg.

Several attempts to obtain comment from Sambo were unsuccessful.


What do you make of the unravelling Mabuza-Sambo saga? Do you think it is a case of malicious intent or are there political forces in play?

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April 5 2020