This follows Vytjie Mentor’s video clip posted on Facebook which states that Eerie Assignment documents how Premier David Mabuza used to hire ruthless assassins to kill his business and political rivals.
Eerie Assignment author Sizwe Sama Yende says his book is gravely distorted.
He says it is not necessarily true that Eerie Assignment details how Premier David Mabuza used to hire assassins to target and kill those he deemed a threat to his business and political ambitions.
Sama Yende was speaking to 013NEWS on Wednesday afternoon and said those who say his book implicates anybody in any criminal activity have not read it.
A week ago former parliamentarian Vytjie Mentor released a video clip on social media. In the video Mentor says Eerie Assignment speaks of just how dangerous the President Jacob Zuma’s allies are.
“It’s called Eerie Assignment,” Vytjie said.
“It documents how on numerous occasions he (Mabuza) hired hitmen to kill those that were either in competition with him in business or in politics, how he had discarded of those bodies, how he kept money and he paid those hitmen and interestingly those hitmen moved between Mozambique and South Africa through Mpumalanga, ” Mentor said in the video.
But Sama Yende said it was really a cause for concern that the book has been distorted that much.
“Long before Vytjie Mentor released the video, there have been people quoting lines from the book in order to get people to interpret it the way they want,” he said.
“The book is not saying someone killed people,” Sama Yende said.
“I’m appealing to people to please read the book.
“The book is clear that allegations were allegations and if you read it from the first page to the last page you will understand that it doesn’t say anybody killed anyone,” Sama Yende told the 013NEWS reporter on Wednesday.
“The best way to understand what the book is about is to read it from page one to the last page. There’s nothing wrong with quoting lines from the book but you must understand it,” he said.
Sama Yende writes of his experience as an investigative journalist working in Mpumalanga while Mabuza was the provincial ANC and government leader within the past 10 years and publishes a number of old newspaper articles.
In another chapter, Sama Yende publishes a signed affidavit by one Josh, who alleges he was hired to kill politicians and whistleblowers by poisoning and gunning them down, under Mabuza’s command.
One of the powerful politicians of the African National Congress in the Mpumalanga province met and apologised to City Press journalist Sizwe Sama Yende after calling him ‘msunu ka nyoko’.
This information is contained in Sama Yende’s newly published book called ‘Eerie Assignment’.
‘Msunu ka nyoko’ means ‘your mother’s genitals’.
Sama Yende said he was interviewing ANC provincial executive member Sibusiso Sgudla in 2011 about allegations that he used his powers as PEC member to influence the employment of unqualified individuals including one woman who was allegedly his girlfriend.
He said Sgudla, who resides in Ermelo, was breathing heavily on the phone, threatening that if Sama Yende ever wrote and published an article that Sgudla was sleeping with the woman in exchange for the job he’d get him, adding ‘msunu ka nyoko’!
This was during the time of violent protests in Ermelo which were fuelled by the political fight between Sgudla and Bongani Phakathi.
“Sgudla and I had a history from his days as a marketing manager in the Govan Mbeki local municipality in Secunda,” Sama Yende wrote in Eerie Assignment.
“I reported serially around 2002 and 2003 that he was alleged to be complicit in fraud and he obviously took offence and viewed this as a personal attack,” said Same Yende.
“I met Sgudla in person for the first time in 2015. We shook hands and he apologised for insulting me by my mother’s cunt,” wrote Sama Yende.
Eerie Assingment hit the book-shelves at the end of May 2017.
With an outer cover of the Mbombela stadium while under construction, the memoir details Sama Yende’s life being an investigative journalist under the leadership of Premier David Mabuza.
The 21-chapter memoir speaks of the division, infighting, corruption, purging of comrades and assassinations of whistleblowers that have taken place since Mabuza took power in 2008 and the intimidations and buying of journalists to drop stories exposing the corruption of politicians in Mabuza’s circles.
Sama Yende said he had been called all sorts of names, asked to take money to drop stories and even had his life threatened.
He said he started writing Eerie Assignment in 2014, the year Sunday Times investigative journalist Mzilikazi wa Afrika released Nothing Left to Steal.
He said he was inspired – by Wa Afrika’s Nothing Left to Steal – to sit down and write his own in the war of exposing corruption.
Writing a foreword in Eerie Assignment, Wa Afrika said: “Just hours after I agreed, under duress of course, to pen the foreword to his book, Sizwe emailed it to me and I spent the whole night reading it”.
“I was spooked, shocked and stunned, the book brought back the nightmares I have been trying very hard to forget, the pain we endured, the public humiliation we faced and the malicious propaganda we survived,” he wrote.
The book is 371 pages long and is selling at R250 per copy.
“This book might not be a masterpiece from your favourite author but it will blow your mind and force you to wake up and smell the coffee,” said Wa Africa.
He was only an 18-year-old boy who wished to work for media houses when he fell into the tender hands of the powerful Sunday Times journalist.
City Press journalist Sizwe Sama Yende is set to release his own book.
The tell-all memoir details an incident in August 2010 wherein Sama Yende escaped an attack by a gun-wielding hired assassin at his Mbombela home.
The book, called ‘Eerie Assignment’, will be in bookshelves by the end of May 2017.
Sama Yende has been a thorn in the back of politicians in hostile Mpumalanga, bravely exposing their shenanigans in the Media24-owned Sunday newspaper.
On the Friday night of 4 August 2010, Sama Yende had just arrived home when an armed man pounced on him after he had entered the gate.
He had been meeting sources for a story he was working on.
On the particular Friday night, after having opened the door and was about to close the sliding door, he saw the man walking hurriedly towards him. The man said (in a low voice) to Sama Yende: ‘stop what you’re doing, do not close the door’.
The man was carrying a gun however Sama Yende managed to close the door quickly and lift the handle to lock it. The man tried to open the door but fled when the alarm started ringing after Sama Yende had sprinted to activate it.
He says the book details this drama and the assignment he was writing before this occurred.
Sama Yende is a protégé of influential investigative South African journalist Mzilikazi wa Afrika.
He is that ‘scrawny’ 18-year-old boy Wa Afrika met in Daggakraal while was working for African Eye News Service and had been covering the late President Nelson Mandela who had come to visit that area in 1997.
Book cover, Eerie Assignment. Lesedi House
In chaper 10 of Nothing Left to Steal, Wa Afrika says of Sama Yende:
“To my surprise, the young man, full of shyness and speaking with his right hand on his mouth, said: ‘I want to be a journalist like you’. I spoke to the teenager for about 15 minutes and I realised that although he was 18 years old he had an extraordinary agility of mind and passion for journalism. He was a local Daggakraal boy”.
Three weeks later Wa Afrika introduced the young man to AENS boss Justin Arenstein who accepted the him on the condition that Wa Afrika was prepared to train and mentor him, which he agreed he would do and did.
Sunday Times Investigative Journalist Mzilikazi wa Afrika. PICTURE BY
Sama Yende since then worked for the African Eye News Service for 9 years, starting from that week in 1997.
In 2004, Sama Yende left AENS to go work for the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research but then returned to AENS in 2005 before becoming City Press’s Limpopo bureau chief in 2006.
Sama Yende also had a stint with the Sekhukhune district municipality in Limpopo, working as a media officer, a position he held for three years until he returned to City Press, this time becoming its Mpumalanga bureau chief, a position he currently holds.
He told 013NEWS: “Eerie Assignment is a memoir centred on that incident”.
“In 2010 I was accosted by a gun-toting person one night, my car brakes were tempered with and was being constantly attacked verbally and on Facebook about my reporting.
“I however dealt with the politics of Mpumalanga and tried to make sense of why the environment has been hostile and toxic to all of us – politicians, journalists, civil servants, businesspeople and ordinary citizens,” he said.
“It is about the pain we have all gone through,” he added.
Mzilikazi wa Afrika contributed the foreword to Eerie Assignment and in Sama Yende’s words; “it is incidentally an extension of his memoir – Nothing Left to Steal“.