Joemat-Pettersson told lobbyist a messenger often takes the fall

Deceased ANC MP Tina Joemat-Pettersson was in Johannesburg on the weekend before her sudden passing the following Monday and allegedly met with a number of people, including her campaign team for the ANCWL deputy presidency, over which she was very excited.

Joemat-Pettersson’s ANCWL campaign manager, Trust Mabasa, told Sunday World she met the late former minister at the Intercontinental Hotel at the OR Tambo international airport on Saturday, June 3.

Unbeknownst to Mabasa, Joemat-Pettersson had allegedly had other meetings in Johannesburg earlier that day. But Joemat-Pettersson did not disclose names, even though sources told Sunday World that the earlier meetings would have been held at a restaurant in Hyde Park.

“I asked her why she came to Gauteng early and did not alert me as usual… She said ‘I came early to meet some people’,” Mabasa said.

Two days after the meeting, Joemat-Pettersson died under mysterious circumstances that forced the police to open an inquest to investigate her death.

The names of two senior ANC heavyweights, known to Sunday World, were mentioned as the people she met, and they allegedly discussed claims of extortion by the husband of suspended public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to collapse the parliamentary inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

According to sources, the duo confronted Joemat-Pettersson, who apparently broke down in tears and was unable to explain herself to them.

Called for comment, one of the ANC politicians who are said to have met with the deceased said: “My previous response to this stands. I will not dignify these scandalous allegations with any comment, including these questions. I will subject myself to any relevant institution when called upon.”

The other senior ANC member who attended the meeting, did not respond to questions.

Mabasa also confirmed our sources’ version that one of the ministers, known to Sunday World, was among the patrons at the airport hotel that Saturday, but on unrelated business.

When contacted for comment, the minister lost his cool. “Absolutely rubbish. My relationship with her was very good. People must not try to create fictitious enemies for Tina. If she had enemies, they were probably few. Personally, I don’t know any,” he said.

Mabasa said she was shocked that her candidate was linked to other slates on social media and, even worse, suggestions for her possible replacements after she passed away.

“Her body is not even cold, and people are already talking about replacements,” she said disapprovingly.

“We were supposed to meet Friday before her passing, but Joemat-Pettersson cancelled because of flight issues. We then met on Saturday afternoon.

“I believe on Saturday she arrived in Gauteng very early, and she was meeting her people. Then we met at around 3pm. When I got to her, she was in a hurry. She wanted to leave soon. She was rushing, saying her branch had a meeting on Sunday in Cape Town.

She said their meeting discussed updates on the balance of forces in terms of how the campaign was going and how many delegates she had scored so far. “My aim was for her to get to the conference uncontested. I believed in her leadership.”

She said the friends she met in political circles were not always good for her but it was not her place to interfere. “I know her good side of being dedicated and loyal to the organisation.”

Mabasa said she warned Joemat-Pettersson that the Mkhwebane allegations threatened to erode their efforts and work. “She said, ‘I’m in a difficult situation, honestly, but let us save this for another day. Sometimes if you are a messenger, everything will fall on you’.”

Mabasa added that Joemat-Pettersson stated that she might not have acted in her personal capacity but for the “collective”.

She advised Joemat-Pettersson, she said, to approach ANC secretary general Fikile Mbalula and set the record straight. She already had a planned trip to Gauteng on the day of her death ( Monday), and if all efforts failed, she would send Mbalula a text message.

Mabasa said on Monday afternoon she tried to call Joemat-Pettersson and eventually left a message: “Our DP (deputy president), please come back to me, it is very urgent.”

She said she wanted to tell her that ANCWL branches wanted to book her to address their members, so she wanted to confirm her availability.

“It was so strange because the Tina I know I would call once or twice, and the third time I send a message, she would respond”.

She then called others close to Joemat-Pettersson to ask them to pass on the message.

She later learnt on social media that the ANC parliamentary chief whip Pammy Majodina, who together with chairperson of the impeachment committee Richard Dyantyi were implicated in the extortion, had announced Joemat-Pettersson’s death, which shocked her.

“The last time I saw Tina, she looked very stressed, but not sick. I knew it was this Mkhwebane thing, but she did not want to speak about it.

“In my mind, I figured she had faced bigger allegations and would survive this one.”

She said that she had said or done nothing wrong even if Mkhwebane’s husband recorded her, but she would rather not discuss the allegations.

“Let’s hope we will learn what happened. If she was poisoned, we must know she was poisoned. If it was a heart attack, we want to know it was a heart attack. If it is a suicide, we must know”.

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