The man who this week slapped David Mabuza with his second protection order has enlisted forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan’s services to pursue criminal charges against the deputy president.
Jan Venter shot to infamy a few years ago when he became a central figure in a R10m defamation lawsuit that Mabuza instituted against his nemesis, former ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa.
Venter worked as Phosa’s butler, but after an acrimonious labour dispute told Mabuza that he saw Phosa and his business associate, Nick Elliot, concocting an intelligence report that claimed Mabuza was an apartheid spy.
The report alleged that Mabuza spied on ANC leaders, including former president Jacob Zuma, and reported their activities to the apartheid government. At the time, Phosa denied fabricating the report and said it was dropped at his house and he forwarded it to ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte to table before the top six officials.
Before the trial began in the Pretoria High Court, Venter switched allegiance between the two men a number of times before he testified on Mabuza’s behalf. The court dismissed his claims against Phosa and described Venter as a liar.
Now, Venter is turning against Mabuza once again. He began his attack on Facebook about two weeks ago, when he wrote: “Why DD, why don’t you just admit you were an apartheid era spy? Don’t hide behind me any more, it won’t work.”
This week, Venter obtained an interim protection order against Mabuza, alleging that he received telephonic threats from a private number because he planned to have a media conference yesterday to expose how Mabuza paid him to testify for him.
Those payments, Venter alleges, included cash amounts of as much as R30 000 at a time. He alleges that Mabuza also bought him a car and a firearm.
Venter said in his affidavit that when he testified for Mabuza in the defamation lawsuit, the deputy president threatened him when he wanted to pull out of the case.
“I had to go back for the second day and I said that I don’t want to go back, and I said it directly to the premier [of Mpumalanga, which Mabuza was at the time]. He said, I quote: ‘Jan, don’t play games with me. People that play games with me end up like [assassinated Mpumalanga politicians] Jimmy Mohlala and James Nkambule,” Venter wrote.
However, recent communication that City Press has seen indicates that Venter had been trying to reach Mabuza through his lawyers – Davis Mculu and Ian Small-Smith – even after he began the process to get the protection order, begging to mend their differences.
“Davis, please read your emails. A Mr Fred Daniels called me. I don’t want to turn against your friend DD [Mabuza]. Please brother, here’s a snapshot of the call, it is even recorded.”
On May 9, Venter wrote to Small-Smith and Mculu: “Good day to both of you. Hope you are having a marvellous day. Today, [two] years ago, was my first day on the stand for Mr Mabuza, please I beg and plead of you not to [write] me off please. Ian unblock me on your phone, be my friend as we always were. Please guys I really need your help. I can’t apologise enough.”
O’Sullivan confirmed he met Venter after he approached him with information about Mabuza on Thursday and took his statement, which was submitted to the Hawks. O’Sullivan said he was due to meet the Hawks next week.
“I met [Venter]. He has had ethical issues in the past. We’re going to get bank statements that will show how much he was paid to testify for Mabuza and lie in court,” he said.
On Thursday, O’Sullivan wrote an email to Mabuza’s office as well as Small-Smith and Mculu, warning them not to make contact with Venter.
“You are all hereby warned, not to make any further contact, directly or indirectly with Mr Jan Venter. The calls threatening to kill him must stop and must stop now. It is in the interests of his safety and in the interests of the republic that your conduct be exposed to public scrutiny, which is what we will now do. You are warned that if any of you breach this instruction, immediate steps will be taken to have you arrested,” wrote O’Sullivan.
Presidential spokesperson Khusela Sangoni did not respond to requests for comment.
Two months ago, Daniels obtained an interim order against Mabuza in the Carolina Magistrates’ Court, accusing him of sabotaging his ecotourism business in Badplaas. The matter is still before the court to decide if the order will be made permanent or not.