Top Hawks investigators confirm wrangle between DD Mabuza and Fred Daniel

Top Hawks investigators confirm wrangle between DD Mabuza and Fred Daniel
UN-CRADLED LIFE: Months after police denied any knowledge of a criminal case between nature conservationist businessman Fred Daniel and deputy president DD Mabuza, Daniel has revealed that the Hawks have now in fact confirmed they are probing the matter. ILLUSTRATIVE GRAPHIC BY Daily Maverick

Investigators claim to face problems at “head office level” when trying to deal with the issue.

Hawks investigators probing the case between deputy president DD Mabuza and businessman Fred Daniel have confirmed to know about the wrangle, months later after claiming to be unaware about any ongoing investigation into matter.

Daniel has revealed that on the Tuesday morning of 22 March 2022 he received a message from the Hawks’s Brigadier Desmond Alexander who informed him that he was tasked to investigate the Badplaas land claims scandal.

A criminal case had been laid against Mabuza with the Hawks, after being accused of being a “mastermind” behind sabotaging Daniel’s ecotourism business and of getting government to buy land using alleged fraudulent means where politicians got kickbacks from land bought by government at inflated prices.

This is the period when the case by Daniel was going to court – where Daniel is suing government over R1-billion – and where the Hawks officially denied being aware of the Mabuza case.

Journalist Kevin Bloom reports on Daily Maverick that Alexander did call Daniel on 22 March 2022 and informed him he was investigating the case.

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Alexander told Daniel that he was reporting to Kubandran Moodley, the Hawks’s head – a major-general by rank – and that the Badplaas land corruption case would be investigated.

Soon after that, Alexander facilitated contact between Daniel and Moodley and the two met one-day in May 2022 to discuss about the case but Daniel said he was not comfortable, fearing for his safety and he kept telling the major-general as such.

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“I am very worried about my safety and that of my family,” Daniel wrote to Moodley a month after their meeting, on 10 June. “My witnesses are being threatened as well as my legal team. Please can we discuss this,” he told Moodley.

Daniel used to own about 39 000 hectares of land in the Badplaas and Barberton areas beginning the early 2000s.

'Fred Daniel not the only one robbed of his dream'
Fred Daniel. PIC 013NEWS

He left Badplaas in 2020, choosing to forget about an area he had become part of for more than 20 years and said that he had decided to move on with his life, seeing no usefulness in continuing to fight the unending, politically fuelled battles of Badplaas.

He was the owner of and the man who built Nkomazi Wilderness and Cradle of Life nature reserve in Badplaas – hoping to create Mpumalanga’s most attractive safari lodge but when he clashed with politicians after he discovered gross corruption in the Mpumalanga parks board and the department of agriculture, it resulted in the envisioned world class project collapsing right in front of his eyes.

ALSO SEE: Fred Daniel not the only one robbed of his dream

He sold Nkomazi Wilderness in 2008 and continued to run Cradle of Life until 2020 when he could no longer stand the pressure and “harassment” any more and left Badplaas for good, selling off Cradle of Life.

Top Hawks investigators confirm wrangle between DD Mabuza and Fred Daniel
Cradle of Life in Badplaas

Daniel is currently in court suing the Mpumalanga government an amount of over R1 billion for money lost while government officials were sabotaging his business, bringing to a halt a dream of many decades.

This includes the era when Mabuza was MEC of agricultural affairs in the province.

In court papers Daniel says it’s a “loss of corporate opportunities” after being allegedly sabotaged while he was busy buying land and establishing the Badplaas nature reserve as well as “loss of profit, loss of land values, loss of prospective profits, damages to the property and investments” and prejudice to his good name and reputation.

The court papers say “such losses, damages and prejudice could reasonably have, and should have, been avoided had the various defendants at all relevant times acted lawfully and without exerting duress” on Daniel.

He said that there has been a major defocus in the issue of corruption each time the matter is reported in the media, with attempts to discredit him as as whistleblower of corruption.

Daniel said it was important for people to understand that the real issue here is corruption and that the cost of exposing the corruption had been great on his personal life and that of his family.

“It’s not about the money, we risk money in business everyday and sometimes you can lose that money, that’s not what we are pursuing in this matter, in fact I don’t care about the money.

“…And to prove that it’s not about the money we have asked the court to split the case into two separate proceedings; the first leg focuses on the substantive issues and merits of the case while the second part of the case will deal with the quantum of the cost,” Daniel said during and exclusive interview with the 013NEWS in August 2020.

Daniel wants his legal team to prove that indeed there was corruption and malfeasance that resulted in the loss of money, opportunities and the destruction of property first before the court hears arguments on cost of the losses incurred.

The matter continues…

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