The MEC, his daugh­ter and R5m in gold

Mpumalanga politi­cian claims a large amount of money was stolen in a plot on his life

CityPress - - Front Page - SIZWE SAMA YENDE sizwe.yende@city­press.co.za

An Mpumalanga MEC has had R5 mil­lion in Kruger­rands and R30 000 in cash stolen from his house. In a tale in­volv­ing a hon­ey­trap and al­leged po­lice bru­tal­ity, agri­cul­ture MEC An­dries Gamede be­lieves the theft was part of a plot on his life.

Gamede, who is also the pro­vin­cial ANC trea­surer, said this week the thieves who looted his home in Piet Retief had a key to his front door. The house was guarded around the clock by a pri­vate se­cu­rity com­pany.

An Mpumalanga MEC has had R5 mil­lion in Kruger­rands and R30 000 in cash stolen from his house. In a tale in­volv­ing a hon­ey­trap and al­leged po­lice bru­tal­ity, agri­cul­ture MEC An­dries Gamede be­lieves the theft was part of a plot on his life.

Gamede, who is also the pro­vin­cial ANC trea­surer, told City Press this week that the thieves who stole the loot from his home in Piet Retief had a key to his front door. The house is guarded around the clock by a pri­vate se­cu­rity com­pany.

Gamede, who earns an MEC’s salary of about R1.8m a year, was re­luc­tant to talk about the stolen mil­lions, or why he had such valu­able coins stashed away in his home.

But Mpumalanga po­lice spokesper­son Bri­gadier Selvy Mohlala con­firmed that R5 mil­lion in Kruger­rands and the cash had been stolen from a safe in the house.

The drama started on May 24 when Gamede’s dou­ble-storey house, which is sur­rounded by trees, was bro­ken into. The thieves, he said, had been hired “to do some­thing” that would put his life in dan­ger, but they some­how lost fo­cus and de­cided to steal from him in­stead.

Gamede did not want to re­veal whether the theft was in any way re­lated to re­gional pol­i­tics. There have been po­lit­i­cal as­sas­si­na­tions and at­tacks on politi­cians’ cars in the re­cent past.

The thieves are be­lieved to be linked to a fam­ily mem­ber, who had been in a re­la­tion­ship with one of the women im­pli­cated in the crime, he said. He would name her only as Lady X.

“The main door on the ground floor was not bro­ken, which means they had a key. It’s a very painful mat­ter to me and the orig­i­nal pur­pose was not to steal,” he said.

“Now peo­ple are con­coct­ing sto­ries. They have threat­ened me with the media. I won’t com­ment [any more].”

Three months af­ter the bur­glary, a friend of Gamede’s late son was picked up for the crime.

Vusumuzi Mabuza (32) told City Press that po­lice tor­tured him on Au­gust 21 to force him to con­fess to steal­ing the mil­lions from Gamede’s house.

Mabuza has opened a case with the In­de­pen­dent Po­lice In­ves­tiga­tive Di­rec­torate, whose spokesper­son, Grace Langa, con­firmed this.

“The in­ves­ti­ga­tion has just started,” she said.

Mabuza al­leged that about six po­lice of­fi­cers picked him up from his spaza shop in Har­mony Park and took him to the Piet Retief Po­lice Sta­tion, where they ques­tioned him. When he did not con­fess to the bur­glary, he said, he was driven about 60km to Wakker­stroom, where he claimed he was blind­folded, hand­cuffed and elec­tro­cuted, with what he be­lieved were cat­tle prods, while im­mersed in a pool of wa­ter. City Press has seen proof that Mabuza was de­tained at the Wakker­stroom po­lice cells at 4.50pm on Au­gust 21.

A doc­tor’s let­ter City Press has also seen con­firms he suf­fered bruis­ing and abra­sions, al­legedly from the as­sault.

“The po­lice said the MEC wanted me to pay back at least R3 mil­lion be­cause I prob­a­bly had used some of the money,” Mabuza said.

He be­came a sus­pect, he said, af­ter his wife bought a sec­ond-hand 2010 Mercedes Benz C180 worth R225 000.

His wife, a teacher, had just been pro­moted to a head of depart­ment po­si­tion at her school and had de­cided to spoil her­self.

“The po­lice said I stole the money and bought the Mercedes-Benz in cash. That is not true. My wife’s car is fi­nanced by a bank,” he said.

City Press has con­firmed with the deal­er­ship that the car is fi­nanced through Absa and that the debt is be­ing paid in monthly in­stal­ments.

In­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer De­tec­tive Thami Mkhaliphi has de­nied that Mabuza was as­saulted and that they ac­cused him of steal­ing the miss­ing mil­lions.

Gamede is not the only Mpumalanga politi­cian who has suf­fered from theft from his home.

In 2009, there were al­le­ga­tions that R14 mil­lion was stolen from Premier David Mabuza’s pri­vate home in Bar­ber­ton.

At the time, po­lice said only R1 200 had been stolen, while the premier de­nied keep­ing any such amount at his house. Af­ter the in­ci­dent, a se­cu­rity com­pany hired to guard the premier’s house was sacked and re­placed by po­lice.

Gamede told City Press that though he ini­tially sus­pected his se­cu­rity guards, he now be­lieved Lady X was be­hind the theft of his stolen mil­lions.

Graphics24

Av­er­age hu­man height: 1.7m

PHOTO: LOWVELDER

Mpumalanga agri­cul­ture MEC and ANC pro­vin­cial trea­surer An­dries Gamede

LE­GIT­I­MATE PUR­CHASE Vusumuzi Mabuza (32) claims po­lice ac­cused him of steal­ing a large sum of cash from An­dries Gamede. Cell­phone proof (above) of the in­stal­ment for the Mercedes-Benz bought by Mabuza’s wife and deb­ited from her ac­count

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