South Africa


In new Stalingrad defence low, Ramaphosa’s discharge of DD Mabuza trial judge delays truth for many more years

In new Stalingrad defence low, Ramaphosa’s discharge of DD Mabuza trial judge delays truth for many more years
Illustrative image (from left): Former deputy president David Mabuza. (Photo: Gallo Images / Brenton Geach) | President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa. (Photo: Vitalii Nosach / Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images) | Conservationist Fred Daniel. (Photo: Supplied) | (Photo: Alet Pretorius) | (Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed)

On 24 July 2023, for reasons that remain unknown to Daily Maverick, President Cyril Ramaphosa signed an order that discharged Judge Cassim Sardiwalla from his duties at the Gauteng Division of the High Court in Pretoria. As the trial judge in the Fred Daniel matter, Sardiwalla was presiding over evidence that implicated David Mabuza, South Africa’s former deputy president, in a large Mpumalanga criminal enterprise. Was there a conspiracy to quash the case?

Seal of the Republic

‘This de novo trial must also be held in open court.”

If ever there was a sentence that revealed the intentions of the state defendants in case number 34502/2010 of the Gauteng Division of the High Court in Pretoria, the infamous R1-billion civil claim that had been lodged by conservationist Fred Daniel against the Mpumalanga provincial government all the way back in July 2010, these few words appeared to qualify on every count.

For starters, there was the Latin phrase “de novo,” which translates as “from the beginning” or “anew”.

In the letter that state attorney Nelson Govender sent to Daniel’s lawyers on 9 November 2023, three days after the sixth session of the marathon trial was due to kick off, the phrase was repeated more than half-a-dozen times.

In other words, after more than 13 years of litigation, comprising millions of pages of correspondence, countless aborted case management sessions and upwards of 180 court days, the government defendants were now arguing that the whole thing needed to start again from scratch.

“It is trite law that when proceedings are commenced de novo,” Govender wrote, “it is neither permissible nor desirable for the new presiding judge to be allowed to see or read the evidence given on a previous occasion.”

Why was Govender so sure that there would be a new presiding judge? The precise answer to this question was something that Daily Maverick had been chasing since early September 2023, when the plaintiffs had been blindsided by the news — at a case management meeting overseen by Judge President Dunstan Mlambo of the Gauteng Division of the High Court — that Judge Cassim Sardiwalla was suffering from an alleged “incapacity”.

From there, in the weeks leading up to 6 November 2023 — when, to reiterate, the sixth session of the trial was scheduled to begin — the matter of Sardiwalla’s health had become progressively more opaque. There had been more than a few details that simply didn’t add up, but from our initial reporting there were three that stood out.

First, it turned out that President Cyril Ramaphosa had discharged Judge Sardiwalla on 24 July 2023, in a signed order that referred to him “becoming permanently incapable of performing his official duties.” Yet more than five weeks would pass before the plaintiffs, at the case management meeting of 4 September, would learn of the judge’s so-called “medical boarding”. Further, the plaintiffs would receive a copy of the President’s certified discharge order only at the end of October 2023.

Second, it appeared that the government defendants may have known about Sardiwalla’s discharge before the plaintiffs. In correspondence exchanged between the parties on 29 September, Daniel’s lawyers asserted that it was “apparent from the prepared submissions presented by the defendants’ counsel” at the meeting of 4 September that “they were indeed prepared to deal with specific issues.” One of these issues, it was noted, was “the unbridled attack on the trial judge, inter alia, by casting doubt on his cognitive abilities in an attempt to vitiate the proceedings.”

Third, despite four requests to the office of Judge President Mlambo for a transcript of the meeting of 4 September, at the time of this writing, to Daily Maverick‘s knowledge, the plaintiffs had still not received the document.

On their own, these three points would have been enough to raise suspicions. The government defendants’ consistent use of the Stalingrad defence had been a subject we’d covered through the duration of the trial — it had justified two standalone pieces, in August 2021 and September 2022, and in May 2023 it had culminated in a cost order against the defendants for attempting to have Daniel’s advocate removed and the trial declared a nullity.

By our assessment, in terms of the legal truism that “justice delayed is denied,” the confusion around Sardiwalla’s discharge was, at the very least, more of the same. But a few months into our reporting, we would discover something that took it to a whole new level; a detail that had been staring us in the face.

A simple search of the Southern African Legal Information Institute database revealed that Judge Sardiwalla had handed down at least five judgments after 1 August 2023, when his discharge came into effect. These judgments, on pending matters, included complicated cases to do with the Legal Practice Council, a financial services company and an application for an interdict against the EFF.

  • Fedbond Nominees (Pty) Limited v Crypton Properties CC and Another, handed down on 7 August 2023;
  • Keele v Legal Practice Council and Another, handed down on 22 August 2023;
  • Gas Giants CC and Another v Economic Freedom Fighters and Others, handed down on 31 August 2023;
  • Ngcebetsha and Another v Legal Practice Council of South Africa, handed down on 4 September 2023; and
  • Matsi Law Chambers Inc v Lesiba Jeremiah Mailula, handed down on 7 September 2023.

The judgments, for us, did more than test the defendants’ allegation that the judge was “cognitively” impaired; crucially, they placed an enormous question mark next to his non-appearance at the sixth session.

And so, by mid-November 2023, shortly before we sent our requests for comment to the President’s office and the judiciary, one would be forgiven for contemplating the worst-case scenario:

Was there a conspiracy to quash the case number 34502/2010?

To be clear, despite months of anxiety and hand-wringing, Daniel and his advocate, Jacques Joubert, would not arrive at any definitive conclusion about the possibility. To them, in their engagements after 4 September with Judge President Mlambo and Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba, it appeared “plausible” that the integrity of the judiciary remained intact.

By purely journalistic standards, however, there was much more room for doubt. It all had to do with the insistence of the government defendants that the trial should begin de novo, and that the new proceedings should take place in open court.

Not the World Cup

On 21 June 2023, Daily Maverick published a piece under the title, “Fearful witness gives explosive testimony against former deputy president Mabuza”. In it, we pointed out that the last week of the fifth session of case number 34502/2010 had been marked by testimony that included allegations of political interference, fears of assassination and details of endemic corruption at the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA).

The witness for the plaintiffs was Jacques Modipane, a former member of the ANC who had served as the CEO of the MTPA between 2012 and 2014. On the morning of 8 June 2023, we reported, Modipane had opened his testimony with the assertion that the man who’d succeeded him as CEO, Boy Johannes Nobunga, had called him up the previous evening with a veiled threat.

“You must be very careful, you cannot work with Fred Daniel, he is not a reliable guy’,” Nobunga had allegedly told Modipane. “He then started saying to me that we must not give evidence against the leaders of the ANC, because we are jeopardising the ANC.”

That same morning, Modipane continued, he had received another call, from a person who was known “to be close” to former deputy president David Mabuza — this deliberately unnamed person, the witness explained, had allegedly asked to come by “for a visit”.

“I am very angry with Mabuza because he placed my family into a crisis for nine years now,” Modipane informed the court, “almost 10 years I am not earning a living because of Mabuza.”

The clear allegation here was that Mabuza had been waging a personal vendetta against him, entirely because of his refusal to comply with — and benefit from — the various rackets that had taken control of the agency. But more than that, Modipane testified, was the apparent fact that “during Mabuza’s tenure [as premier of Mpumalanga] from 2009, many people in the ANC … were assassinated.”

Importantly, neither advocate Dawie Joubert SC, acting for the Mpumalanga government, nor advocate Mike Hellens SC, acting for Mabuza in his personal capacity, had cross-examined Modipane on the opening part of his testimony. Which meant, of course, that it remained an uncontested part of the court record.

Equally obvious, if the government defendants got their way and the trial began de novo, Modipane’s testimony would be expunged from the court record.

The second part of Modipane’s evidence, where he outlined the fictitious debts that the MTPA had racked up in the years before his appointment, would go the same expunged way. As would the witness’s testimony that Mabuza had stifled all his attempts at settling the damages claim with Daniel.

Would Modipane take the risk of placing it all on record again, word for word and from the start, in an unprotected open court?

By any reckoning, it would be a remarkably brave thing to do. And here, it appeared, was where the leverage in the defendants’ strategy lay.

The virtual trial, which had kicked off on Microsoft Teams in the winter of 2021 due to Covid-19, had accorded a great deal of safety and assurance to Daniel’s list of witnesses. Not only that, but it had saved Daniel the combined expense — which he was footing from his own pocket, while Hellens, (Dawie) Joubert and Govender were getting funded and paid by the state — plus for all travel, meals and accommodation.

And yet still, as Daniel told Daily Maverick in October 2023, the trial had almost bankrupted him.

“There is no way I can afford to run it all again in open court,” he said.

For Daniel, since he had closed his case with the testimony of Modipane, and given that the defendants’ latest counter-move had come in the wake of the Rugby World Cup, the closest analogy — if the judiciary did indeed award a de novo open court trial — was to a Springbok who was about to score the winning try in the closing minute of the final.

“There’s nobody ahead of him,” Daniel offered, “the try-line is wide open and he’s two metres from the mark, with 30 seconds left on the clock. The ref blows the whistle, takes the ball away from him and kicks it into the stands.”

Evidence, shmevidence 

But that’s what the Springboks would’ve lost. The bigger question, for Daily Maverick at least, was what did the country stand to lose?

As anyone familiar with this historic case is well aware, the prodigious evidence that the plaintiffs’ witnesses have submitted under cross-examination to the Pretoria High Court has dealt, in the main, with the so-called “land claims scam” — a many-tentacled organised crime operation, allegedly overseen by former deputy president Mabuza, that cynically abused the Restitution of Land Rights Act to enrich an unlikely cabal of white Afrikaaner middlemen and ANC party loyalists.

The overall cost of the scam to the Mpumalanga economy, according to a 2015 report compiled by retired judge Willem Heath, was R35-billion. But that measurement, as devastating as it was to the province’s unemployment figures and tourism heritage, did not take into account the much more subtle damage to the South African Constitution. Because, if apartheid had been about anything, it had been about the removal of communities, clans and entire tribes from their ancestral lands — and here, section 25 of the Constitution, just like its legislative offspring the Restitution of Land Rights Act, had once been counted with the most enlightened land reform laws in the world.

Daniel’s consistent allegation, from when he had first blown the whistle on the land claims scam in the spring of 2004, was that the ANC-controlled South African government had been stealing the land from the very people to whom it was supposed to be given back. As he had come to learn over the years, the mechanisms for this gigantic fraud were never obvious or direct; rather, with their hands on the provincial land reform funds that flowed in yearly from the national budget, Mabuza and his partners could get creative.

To refer to just a handful of the articles that Daily Maverick has published on the matter in the past three years, the first item of ANC-linked evidence was placed on the court record in August 2021, when former SAPS inspector Kobus Vermeulen provided testimony of a hostage situation at the Badplaas police station that had occurred a few days before a violent protest at Daniel’s nearby nature reserve. Both of these events, according to the tenor of Vermeulen’s evidence, had been orchestrated by Mabuza himself, who at the time — the winter of 2008 — had been the Mpumalanga MEC for agriculture and land affairs.

“He basically applauded them and told them not to worry,” Vermeulen testified, with reference to Mabuza’s surprise arrival at the protest, “[saying] that the land will be given back to its lawful claimants.”

In the same article, we cited the testimony of forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan, which provided a detailed history of the spate of fake land claims that had been registered in the Badplaas region of Mpumalanga during Mabuza’s tenure, as well as the methods by which land prices had been inflated and the “profits” split between government employees and local white middlemen.

Included in O’Sullivan’s testimony was documentary evidence of payments to a certain Pieter Visagie, the Badplaas speculator who had been outed as the “architect” of the land claims scam when the story first broke in City Press in September 2004. By any estimation, the hottest piece of evidence was a letter of motivation to the provincial land claims commissioner for a payment of R3.4-million to Visagie — over and above the R18-million he had already been paid — drafted and signed by Mabuza in January 2009.

Still, as Judge Sardiwalla would hear, the colluding partners over the years had not been limited to the same Afrikaaner middlemen. In February 2022, during the third session of the trial, human rights advocate and land reform specialist Richard Spoor would take the stand, to confirm the general pattern of racketeering, further substantiate the campaign of harassment against Daniel, and expose the alleged involvement of Mabuza’s wife, too.

“To the best of my recall substantial sale commissions were paid to Premier DD Mabuza’s wife,” paragraph 52 of Spoor’s witness statement noted, “who was a Pam Golding estate agent.”

Spoor was not asked to provide oral testimony on this aspect of his statement, which prompted Daily Maverick to undertake its own deep dive into the documentation. The resulting article, which followed the trail all the way from the infancy of the scam, in 2004, to its maturity, in 2015, would draw the attention of Major-General Kubandran Moodley of the Hawks, who in April 2022 would appoint a team of senior officers to investigate.

What Moodley and his team would discover, however, was that a number of criminal investigations had been attempted before.

In our article “Revealed: David Mabuza, Fred Daniel and the missing crime dockets,” published in August 2022, we provided evidence of three absent or empty case files, which had each been focused on smaller slices of the larger criminal enterprise pie. The effect of the missing dockets, since they spoke of political interference at the highest levels, was to chill the Hawks team into submission.

But then, on 5 December 2022, inspired largely by the missing dockets, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) filed a 41-page criminal complaint under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, with Mabuza’s name atop the list of 15 suspects. For the first time, the entire litany of allegations was included in a single affidavit, and the relationship between the land claims scam and the corruption at the MTPA was made abundantly clear.

At Daily Maverick, given that the affidavit contained embedded online links to all the substantive and prima facie evidence, we assumed that DD “The Cat” Mabuza may have run out of lives.

We were wrong.

Almost a year to the day later, after too many follow-ups to count, the Investigating Directorate of the National Prosecuting Authority had still not provided us with an update on the status of the complaint. Which meant that there was only one place left to turn.

Last-Chance Saloon

Our questions to Judge President Mlambo and Deputy Judge President Ledwaba, sent on the afternoon of 22 November 2023, were almost identical to the questions we sent to the office of President Ramaphosa, at exactly the same time.

To open the questions, we cited Ramaphosa’s order of 24 July, where the only explanation provided for Judge Sardiwalla’s discharge was that he had become “permanently incapable” of performing his duties.

“Given that the plaintiffs closed their case at the end of the fifth session of the trial in June 2023,” we asked, “do you assert that the timing of the discharge was a coincidence? If so, could you perhaps provide our readers with a more comprehensive account of why Judge Sardiwalla was discharged?”

The question did not elicit an answer from either of the parties.

Neither did the questions that followed. At the time of this writing, we still do not know why it took more than five weeks for the plaintiffs to be informed of Sardiwalla’s alleged “incapacity,” and we have not been provided any reason as to why a copy of the official discharge order was only furnished at the end of October, a week before the sixth session was due to begin. Similarly, we don’t know why, despite four written requests to Judge President Mlambo, the plaintiffs do not have a transcript of the meeting of 4 September.

But for us, again, it was the refusal to answer the final question that raised the likelihood of a conspiracy.

“Since his discharge on 24 July 2023,” we wrote, “Judge Cassim Sardiwalla has handed down at least five judgments, including but not limited to:

  • Fedbond Nominees (Pty) Limited v Crypton Properties CC and Another, handed down on 7 August 2023;
  • Keele v Legal Practice Council and Another, handed down on 22 August 2023;
  • Gas Giants CC and Another v Economic Freedom Fighters and Others, handed down on 31 August 2023;
  • Ngcebetsha and Another v Legal Practice Council of South Africa, handed down on 4 September 2023; and
  • Matsi Law Chambers Inc v Lesiba Jeremiah Mailula, handed down on 7 September 2023.

“Given these comprehensive judgments, which appear to undermine the assertion of the government defendants in case number 34502/2010 that Judge Sardiwalla has been suffering from an alleged ‘mental incapacity,’ could you perhaps provide clarification as to why the incumbent trial judge did not take his seat on 6 November 2023 to preside over the sixth session?” (Sorry for the repeat listing of the five cases – we felt we also needed them presented to you earlier in this story – Ed)

As things stand, Daily Maverick has learnt, the matter has been referred to justice minister Ronald Lamola, who will apparently appoint a judge to replace Sardiwalla. There is no clarity, however, on whether the decision on a de novo trial will be up to the replacement judge, Judge President Mlambo or Lamola himself.

At stake, for the voting citizens of South Africa, is the democratic future of the country. If the order is made to start the trial from scratch, at least the position of the Ramaphosa cabinet will be clear: DD “The Cat” Mabuza has not run out of multiple lives just yet. DM

Update at 4pm on Tuesday, 5 December 

Neither Ramaphosa nor Judge Mlambo responded to queries from Daily Maverick prior to publishing this article.

The Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services on Tuesday issued a statement in response to Daily Maverick’s article. 

According to the statement, neither President Ramaphosa nor Justice Minister Ronald Lamola were made aware that Judge Sardiwalla was presiding in the matter involving former deputy president David Mabuza. 

“To link the President of discharging Judge Sardiwalla from active service for any other reason except his medical condition and write about without any facts to support that such a sensational claim is rhetorical strategy which has the hallmarks of disinformation. To further create an impression that the President would discharge a Judge from active service on medical grounds for flimsy reasons is an insult to our Judges,” read the statement.


At a press conference on Tuesday morning, judge Mlambo responded to a question from a journalist regarding Daily Maverick’s report and his alleged involvement in the Fred Daniel matter. 

Mlambo said: “When Judge Sardiwalla mentioned to me that he’s not well, it was some time before I actually approached the Minister of Justice to approach the President to discharge him. What had happened was, the Covid-19 restrictions had ended and we issued a directive for all legal proceedings in our courts to go back to the default position of in-person hearings. Judge Sardiwalla was the lone exception who stayed marooned in Durban doing this particular matter virtually.”

Mlambo said he had implored Judge Sardiwalla to return to the Gauteng division after receiving reports that “things were not going well” with the proceedings Sardiwalla was handling. According to Mlambo, Judge Sardiwalla had told him that he was continuing with the matter virtually because of his health and wanted to remain in Durban because of his support structures. 

Eventually, Mlambo said to Sardiwalla that he can’t be forced to continue working but then needed to provide a medical substantiation for his health situation – which he subsequently provided. 

“When we got it [the medical substantiation], I had a session with him and the DJP to say we will approach the Minister to approach the President to board you [Sardiwalla] medically on certain conditions,” said Mlambo. According to Mlambo, the two conditions were that he must finish the trial in the Fred Daniels matter, and he must finish his reserve judgments that were outstanding. Mlambo said Sardiwalla agreed to the conditions.

However, Sardiwalla informed Mlambo that, because of his medical condition, “he was not going to do justice in continuing to stay in the matter.” Therefore, a judicial case management matter was convened with the DJP and all parties involved to discuss the situation and present two options to resolve it. 

The first option, according to Mlambo, was to let all the evidence that has been pleaded be given to a new judge so the matter would not start from scratch but continued from there. The second option was to start afresh before another judge.

“That situation is beyond my hands. Anyone who wants to accuse me of being involved in some stratagem to influence the outcome of this matter has not considered these facts and I know that the legal professionals who were involved in these matters were given a full briefing on Judge Sardiwalla’s condition,” said Mlambo.

“And it’s not the first time we have a judge being medically boarded – it happens. Judges are not robots… I refuse to accept that I am involved in a stratagem to influence the outcome of this matter,” he said. DM



Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Karen Joubert says:

    The Defence’s conduct in this case falls squarely under the CC’s rulings in Ex parte Minister of Home Affairs and Others; In re Lawyers for Human Rights v Minister of Home Affairs and Others (CCT 38/16) [2023] ZACC 34 (30 October 2023). I wonder whether the Defendants realise that they could be held personally liable for the costs of this trial? Are they aware of the conduct of the State Attorney? The conduct of their Counsel? Have they given instructions to those parties to conduct this trial in a manner that undermines Sect. 34 0f the our Constitution? I’d like to add
    these extracts from the judges’ ruling to emphasise that ignorance is not a defence and that the Constitutional Court will award cost orders against public officials in their personal capacity even if they were unaware of the conduct of their legal representatives.
    Section 172(1)(b) affords this Court the power to grant just and equitable relief. The ambit of that power is wide and flexible. In Economic Freedom Fighters II, this Court expressed it thus:

    “The power to grant a just and equitable order is so wide and flexible that it allows courts to formulate an order that does not follow prayers in the notice of motion or
    some other pleading. This power enables courts to address the real dispute between the parties by requiring them to take steps aimed at making their conduct to be consistent with the Constitution”.27

    This Court in Kirland pointed out:
    “[T]here is a higher duty on the state to respect the law, to fulfil procedural requirements and to tread respectfully when dealing with rights . . . . Government is not an indigent or bewildered litigant, adrift on a sea of litigious uncertainty, to whom the courts must extend a procedure-circumventing lifeline.”50

    The principle that a public official who acts in a representative capacity may be ordered to pay costs out of their own pockets in certain circumstances was affirmed by this Court in Reserve Bank.68 It made plain that the purpose of a personal costs order against a public official is the vindication of the Constitution. This Court pointed out that such orders are not inconsistent with the Constitution and that they are required for its protection, because public officials who flout their constitutional obligations must be held to account. “[W]hen their defiance of their constitutional obligations is egregious, it is they who should pay the costs of the litigation brought against them, and not the taxpayer”, said the Court.69
    All I can say to the defendants is read this case and consider what it may cost you and our country to continue with this egregious behaviour.

    • Jacki McInnes says:

      Thank uou for this clarification, Karen. It is very helpful for those of us who are unfamiliar with SA law but determined to see justice in this excruciating trial

    • Geoff Coles says:

      The conduct of the State Attorney is often iffy, at best……like getting money from Zuma…..indeed, any senior ANC it seems

  • Laurence Erasmus says:

    Clearly Cyril has participated in a conspiracy to quash this case! Disgusting and disgraceful.

    • Francois Smith says:

      Ramaphosa had to cut a deal for DD so that Ramaphosa’s cronies can eat at the trough ie appoint him as deputy president. Probably part of that deal was that Ramaphosa will do everything in his ability to protect DD. Ramaphosa is worst than Zuma, Zuma was too stupid not to be caught. Ramaphosa is a date raper, he drugs his victims.

  • ian79 says:

    I can’t believe that an amazing publication like Daily Maverick would write such a misleading article. The justice is sick. He has a mental disability. Full stop. Fred knows it. Kevin knows it.

    • Jacki McInnes says:

      Clearly you haven’t been reading the clearly articulated DM reports exposing the foul underbelly of this trial – and the patently illegal actions that necessitated the trial in the first place – since 2004

      • Andrew Newman says:

        The judge clearly has problems which could affect many other cases. He is delinquent in other cases. Also been criticized for “badly written and poorly argued judgments”
        From Groundup article “Over 260 court judgments outstanding for more than six months”
        “Judge Cassim Sardiwalla of the Pretoria High Court, Acting Judge Sean Snyman of the Johannesburg Labour Court and Judge Robert Lagrange of the Cape Town Labour Court have 11 late judgments each – the highest according to the report.”

    • Ashley Stone says:

      How naive!

    • Karen Joubert says:

      The judge has a back problem. He wasn’t discharged for having a mental disability. Clearly, if that had been the case he wouldn’t have been able to complete other partially heard matters. One wouldn’t want to go down a path where counsel can attack the judiciary and judges when they cannot succeed on the merits of their case.

      • Richard Owen says:

        well put. the independence of the judiciary is at stake here. and without an independent judiciary, the rule of law in South Africa is at stake.

      • Richard Owen says:

        well put. the independence of the judiciary is at stake here. and without an independent judiciary, the rule of law in South Africa is at stake.

        • Karen Joubert says:

          Exactly Richard, the lack of transparency regarding Sardiwalla’s abrupt departure is worrying. If rumour and innuendo about a judge’s cognitive abilities is sufficient to derail a trial and to allow state financed defendants to smother plaintiffs’ claims,
          our judiciary and the rule of law in South Africa is imperilled.
          The law allows remedies, the defendants chose backdoor manoeuvres to outs Sardiwalla. Let’s hope that that a strong, independent and fair judge is appointed to finally determine the merits of Fred’s case. That is what section 34 of our constitution demands.

          • Andrew Newman says:

            Judge Cassim Sardiwalla is deliquent in many other cases and would not have given a competent judgement in this one.

    • Nick Griffon says:

      I cannot believe that people are still this naive about how far the ANC criminal influence stretches.

      Did you even read the article, Ian? With all the links to substantiating evidence?

    • Anne Felgate says:

      Do you have proof of your assertions?

  • Iam Fedup says:

    We all know the rot goes right to the top, to Ramaphosa and all his fellow gangsters. Why this is impossible for SA’s citizens to see is a complete mystery. As someone who has always believed in democracy, I’m happy to consider a coup d’etat by decent people who want to restore order. As a minimum, every single one of us should refuse to pay tax to finance these thugs.

  • swangcp says:

    Welcome to Africa, where corruption is not in the lexicon of the rulers.

  • Laurence bekink says:

    Cyril owes DD for helping him beat NDZ. The chances of DD facing any kind of music under Cyril the useless are just a shade under zero. The ANC is a soulless wraith concerned only with self enrichment and power.

  • Barry Messenger says:

    A glaringly crooked development.

  • Patterson Alan John says:

    Many years ago, as a child, I learnt the meaning of the phrase, ‘Where there is smoke, there is usually a fire.’
    There is a distinct smell of smoke in the air!
    Beware, beware! This is the thin edge of the wedge as the ANC positions itself to use every possible opportunity to protect their own at any cost to the country, as well as ensure that they retain power.
    Should the ANC lose the majority at the upcoming elections, and a coalition be formed as government, the ills of the past will be investigated and numerous ANC people will be exposed to legal prosecution. Surely a strong motivation to retain power by any means and the longer the ANC persist with their nefarious activities, the more determined they will be to maintain the status quo.

  • Peter Doble says:

    Anyone who believes the state is not totally captured is living in cloud cuckoo land. Whether or not this judge is “incapable” is irrelevant. Mabuza has been an open suspect for long before this case when in charge of the provincial health and education departments to his premiership and dealings with the Mpumalanga Parks and Tourism Authority and the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In that time whistleblowers have been taken out and journalists either ignored or given a clear warning.

  • Karl Sittlinger says:

    And yet there are still people that would have us believe there is good in the ANC…Ramaphosa is clearly not even a little better than Zuma, just a little more sophisticated in protecting is thieving buddies. Now add his good news comments and admiration of China and its oppressive regime, and there can be little doubt what iceberg the ANC is steering us into.

  • Stephanie Brown says:

    The country’s judges are meeting this week to discuss the ability of the courts to deliver on their constitutional mandate as an independent judiciary. I have long thought that they are under pressure, but the “centre is holding”. What has happened in this case is very concerning. I think it is time for us to march in protest. We need answers here from our President and the judiciary. My walking shoes are ready. In the meantime, digging Daily Maverick.

    • Ben Swart says:

      When if ever will we start to march. We are all to civilised to do such a thing. Acting against corruption is urgently needed.
      My walking shoes are ready “also”. In the meantime, digging Daily Maverick.

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    If the ANC lose the election, there is going to be one heck of a lot of counter action. Heads will roll legally from Ramsphosa down! There are a lot of very afraid people in town!!

  • Pierre Hough says:

    Dear Mr Bloom.
    This is an open challenge to you to write another article on the “truth value” of every aspect of what appears on the document signed by Ramaphosa and a Cabinet Minister under Seal of “The President of the Republic of South Africa”. I suggest you get your editor(s) and lawyers and all the DM journalists involved on this important exercise to demonstrate to your readers tour own and DM’s understanding of law.

    HP Hough MMM
    Chairman: South African Liberation Movement
    Email: [email protected]
    Cellular”+27 (0)82 211 7177

  • @redsmoke78 @redsmoke78 says:

    an evil ideology lives in our world. has made a home in our country. it serves no God. It loves us not! waiting for our dying fight.

    four million candles in the night
    and one by one their faiding Light

  • Gary Palmer says:

    What fantastic journalism!

    It is this kind of exposure that will bring the ANC to it’s grave. If the President of South Africa is conspiring and the judiciary are cool with it, it brings about rising resentment and hate for flouting the trust of South African citizens.

    I am not sure that the value of this journalism is actually being appreciated by the readership when one reads the ‘throw your hands up and move on comments’, being posted.

    This is a pivotal point in our democracy to oust the most blatantly corrupt and deceitful party ever. The ANC has brought South Africa to its knees, robbing the coffers and SOE’s, trying to fulfil an insatiable greed, enriching their few, causing irreversible consequences to its citizens.

    Wake Up! Get up and change this trajectory! South Africa need you!

    • Dragon Slayer says:

      I couldn’t agree more. If only the majority of South Africans were able to access and process this information. Problem is the majority are so desperate, dependent and kept illiterate that they are more scared of losing what little patronage they have and ANC ‘Ubuthakathi’ at that the polls where they think their votes are watched.

  • Pierre Hough says:

    Dear Karin, I challenge you to inform the readers about the truth value of only the heading in the judgment you attached in your post: “IN THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF SOUTH AFRICA”.

    Your post is here: “In

    • Karen Joubert says:

      Dear Pierre, I didn’t attack the constitutional court. I in fact state that the ruling is a warning to public officials and the legal profession that abuse of the court process could lead to adverse cost orders. Read the judgment.

    • Johan Herholdt says:

      Dear Pierre, what suspicions are you trying to raise in this reference to a recent Immigration Act case? Exactly what ‘truth value’ are you after in the DD Mabuza (et al) case? What kind of dog does the South African Liberation Movement have in the Ramaphosa/Mabuze fight?

  • Hilary Morris says:

    Trying to absorb the criminal duplicity of those on the government side of this horrific case is liable to induce a panic attack. There are (apparently), no lengths to which Ramaphosa will not sink in order to protect his bloody awful clutch of crooks and incompetents. And clearly he owes Mabuza big time for his presidency. I agree with the reader who stated that this president is worse than Zuma. All the talk of renewal and ending corruption – lies behind a two faced smile. What a total disaster the ANC has become. The Mandela era dims into oblivion as they destroy everything they touch.

  • Middle aged Mike says:

    I hope all the credulous midwits who talked up our current criminal syndicate capo at the height of the new dawn delusion are experiencing intense buyers remorse.

  • Howard L. says:

    We are fast sliding into the abyss of a mafia state overseeing what has become a slippery slope to a banana republic.

  • Les Thorpe says:

    Lest we forget, we are dealing with a large criminal enterprise, viz. the ANC.

  • Uma Kabanye says:

    The protection afforded Mabuza by our President and other powerful ANC execs, in this instance and many other (think Eskom) is puzzling. I can only conjecture that DD’s close ties with Russia have something to do with it.

  • Wayne Holt says:

    Thanks DM for unrelentingly pursuing this. I cannot imagine how Fred Daniels and his team must be feeling about this. Sure Judge Zondo as the Chief Justice should be aware of this?

  • Louis Potgieter says:

    This article needs the widest possible circulation.

  • Peter Holmes says:

    Nothing to see here folks. Just another typical day in the ANC office. Move along please.

  • Penny Philip says:

    How these guys keep evading the law makes them all criminals, including Ramaphosa. We had such high hopes for CR but he’s gone the way of most African leaders.

    • Johann Olivier says:

      Ms. Philip. WHY? Why did you have high hopes for Squirrel? I do believe, upon reflection, you’ll find it came down to understandable desperation, the desire for something better. Anything. Nothing in his resume gave hope for a better South Africa. Nothing. At the time of his ascendancy, I watched in disbelief & unease as folks rejoiced.

  • JDW 2023 says:

    Scary stuff. The rot seems to go a lot deeper than the average Joe in SA appreciates. Well done to the writer and DM for bringing this to light.

  • Chip Snaddon says:


  • derekatkinson20 says:

    Here we go again ,these criminals will stop at nothing

  • Sue Grant-Marshall says:

    Brave, brilliant journalism Kevin Bloom. Well done to Daily Maverick for continuing to pursue truth in this Fred Daniel case. Truth that could bring down this rotten, evil government – one that stops at nothing to pervert the course of justice. The bloody entrails of this case will expose how far and how deep ANC government corruption goes.

  • john.adam1947 says:

    Tiresome use of the cliche : “Stalingrad Defence”. The actual defence of that city tested to the utmost human qualities of honour, courage, dependability and honesty to oneself and others. These human qualities are non-existent in the circumstances headlined as Stalingrad Defences.

    • Bonga Siyothula says:

      Thank you. The defence of Stalingrad was something positive. Stalling and time wasting is not.

    • Karl Sittlinger says:

      According to some estimates, Soviet barrier troops may have killed as many as 150,000 of their own men over the course of the war, including some 15,000 during the Battle of Stalingrad.

      “utmost human qualities of honour”?

      Not that I support the Germans here or anything, but rarely in war things are honorable.

  • PETER BAKER says:

    Let us not lose sight of the fact that despite all of the behind the scenes smegmatis activities, and innuendos, lies the cold reality that el Presidente Ramaphoria and his entire ANC is a malignancy which is killing all of us. They are all dirty, thieving, politicians who can only survive with the complete approval and knowledge of every ANC person in elected office. And most of those in appointed positions. The ANC cannot be reformed any more than a dead, maggot infested rat. They are both beyond fixing. The quicker South African voters realize this the better. Yup, it’s time for us to take to the street in our millions.

  • Michael Thomlinson says:

    Definitely a conspiracy. One can only conclude that Mabuza is gulity on all charges and Cyril is keeping him out of court and out of jail. As soon as you see the name Mike Helens or Dali Impofu, you know it is a dodge deal. Despicable attorneys earning millions off cases that should be open and shut.

    • Middle aged Mike says:

      We have a library of books published over the last decade or so that directly accuse miscreants like the ex deputy capo in any number of serious crimes. To the best of my recollection none of those accused have sued for defamation and that suggests very strongly that they are guilty and that the catalogues of crime they contain are far from complete.

  • Lisbeth Scalabrini says:

    Fred Daniel’s case has been obstructed from the very beginning. The poor man has already been waiting for justice for 10 years.
    I am rather ignorant regarding the SA judicial functions, but being independent, can the President interfere in a running judicial case?

  • Katharine Ambrose says:

    When Ramaphosa became president the theory was that he took on Mabuza as his deputy with long teeth. Seems that they are closer than we thought

  • Kevin Schaafsma says:

    Wasn’t it the potential interference with an ongoing political trial that led to the impeachment of Judge John Hlope? How is this any different?

  • frans mabaso says:

    As long South Africans are still waiting for the R350 from Cyril nothing is going to happen.South Africans are literally stupid all they want is free money which create more INFLATION.South Africans don’t understand neither know what is happening in this country.And ANC has realize that South Africans just wanna work,other’s just want free grant.And anc is using that to their advantage.

  • Seven Thosand says:

    What annoys me is the constant narrative that our courts and Judiciary are being lauded as sound and effective. This is a joke when the state directly intervenes, Stalingrad defence is std accepted practice. As with many citizens one cannot get relief from our courts due to incompetance,lost documents and the costs out of reach. This is also the modus operandi of the state to financially cripple you out of contention. Where is the justice for all. Welcome to the banana republik

  • Colleen Dardagan says:

    Justice deferred is justice denied – what a dark day.

  • Gordon Pascoe says:


  • Andrew Newman says:

    I think this article is so full of misinformation the Daily Maverick will need to apologize.

    The judge clearly has issues which could affect many other cases. He is delinquent in several other cases. He has also been criticized for “badly written and poorly argued judgments” and probably would not give a coherent judgement on this case either.
    Judge Cassim Sardiwalla has 11 outstanding judgements (more than 6 months)

    From Groundup article “Over 260 court judgments outstanding for more than six months”
    “Judge Cassim Sardiwalla of the Pretoria High Court, Acting Judge Sean Snyman of the Johannesburg Labour Court and Judge Robert Lagrange of the Cape Town Labour Court have 11 late judgments each – the highest according to the report.”

  • Elmarie De Bruin says:

    Did DM check the legal procedure of removing a judge on the basis of medical issues? To “board” a judge? I doubt that the judge’s removal was so sinister as this piece suggests.

  • Neil Parker says:

    Until now I had never heard of the “South African Liberation Movement”. But of course as soon as one sees the word “liberation” one’s blinkered eyes are supposed to equate the content with gospel truth. Could Mr Hough please tell us a little more about his “Movement” if the title is anything other than misleading verbiage ?

  • Deirdre Lubbe says:

    DM’s reporting has come under attack with credible yet unsupported claims relating to the Judge. In the absence of specifics, I remind the critics that CR stood by Zuma all those years doing nothing about the looting. How could we believe him? It is not inconceivable that he is now doing the same for Mabuza.
    Could it be possible that the judge himself received death threats and capitulated for fear of assassination?
    Way back, there were allegations of Mabuza creaming it from road contracts, along with Malema nogal. I would put nothing past anyone in power … actually.

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