WATCH: Mabuza wants to clear his name of political killing and corruption claims
Deputy President David Mabuza wants the courts to clear his name of longstanding assassination and corruption allegations against him.
Mabuza confirmed to News24 that he has opened a defamation case against ANC member Bishop Hangwi Maumela.
Maumela was filmed saying the ANC did not need a deputy president who was a "murderer", but instead needed leaders with integrity.
Mabuza has seen the video, filmed on Saturday July 28 during a public meeting held at Khotso Hall in Embalehle in Mpumalanga.
"We need decent leaders, people with a vision, who have made it in life without killing other people… We can’t have a murderer as deputy president and then have a girlfriend of a murderer as a premier," claimed Maumela.
Mabuza opened a case of crimen injuria against Maumela at the Embalenhle police station.
Under South African common law, crimen injuria is a criminal offence defined as the act of "unlawfully, intentionally and seriously impairing the dignity of another".
Speaking to News24, Mabuza said he wanted all the allegations leveled against him to be tested in a court of law.
"I have opened a case. It took me a long time. There were all sorts of insinuations, vulgar words against me and every time people were alleging... finally someone stood in the open and said this one is a murderer. I felt this is an opportunity for someone to give the public and the courts all the evidence," he said.
'These are serious allegations'
Mabuza told News24 that he has faced allegations of wrongdoings for nine years, reported in the media. He has urged people with evidence against him to come forward.
"These are serious allegations. Why do people talk about murder? If you insinuate that so and so killed a person, without providing evidence, you are destroying a character or you are defeating the ends of justice."
Mabuza called on people who have made allegations against him, including corruption allegations, to come forward with the evidence.
Earlier this month, the New York Times published a damning report, claiming that Mabuza was known as one of South Africa's "most dangerous". The report claimed that nearly 20 politicians, most from inside the ANC, had been assassinated in the past two decades, some after exposing corruption in a public works project.
The report also claimed that Mabuza, who served as Mpumalanga premier and education MEC, had siphoned millions of rands meant for schools in the province.
"This is the best opportunity ever, for me, for whoever to use this opportunity so that we can clear this," Mabuza said.
"Allegations that are meant to tarnish one’s image are not helpful, allegations that are not tested. I feel this is an opportunity."
In March, DA chief whip John Steenhuisen asked Mabuza what the moral regeneration movement was planning to do about "the morally repugnant" political killings. He mentioned the names of James Nkambule and Jimmy Mohlala, without linking Mabuza to their murders.
'Special investigation team must be appointed'
Mohlala, who was the speaker of Mbombela municipality, was killed in 2009. He blew the whistle on massive tender corruption surrounding a stadium built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, while Nkambule was allegedly poisoned for claiming politicians were behind assassinations in the province.
"I have been calling to say anyone who has got any proof, approach any court of law, so that we can test these allegations, and no one came forward, up until this one (Mahumela) came forward, after a period of nine years or so," Mabuza said.
According to Mabuza, the leaders of the ANC had not discussed the matter.
Maumela told News24 that police were yet to contact him about the case opened against him.
"I will be happy if he can come up and clear his name. There must be a special investigation into the murders that happened under his watch. The cases must not be investigated by Mpumalanga police, but a special investigation team must be appointed," Maumela said.
Maumela is non-apologetic about his remarks.
"Why should I regret [it]?" he asked. Maumela claimed that his comments were based on some videos featuring Mabuza circulating on social media.
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