Transport minister and CR’s blue-eyed boy is allegedly a person of interest to the police in NW billionaire Wandile Bozwana’s killing.
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has been identified as one of the people set to be questioned by the police’s Gauteng Provincial Investigations Unit alongside former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo over the murder of prominent billionaire Wandile Bozwana.
Another prominent businessman, Peter Mohale, was also set to be questioned by the police after it was allegedly traced that he had followed Bozwana from Sandton City to where Bozwana was shot. Bozwana later died at a Pretoria hospital. Sunday World can exclusively reveal police investigations had found that both Mahumapelo and Mohale, a Limpopo businessman, were allegedly around the vicinity of the crime scene. Cellphone records allegedly placed them in that vicinity.
According to police information, Mbalula was allegedly around Pretoria at the time Bozwana was shot in a hail of bullets while driving with his colleague, Mpho Baloyi, on the N1 highway in October 2015.
But it was the police’s alleged discovery of calls the minister had made to a well-known Vusi “Khekhe” Mathibela, who is a suspect in several criminal cases around Pretoria, that made him a person of interest in the case. According to senior police sources privy to the case and information seen by Sunday World, Mbalula allegedly met with Bozwana while in the company of Mathibela at Emperor’s Palace, east of Joburg, two days before he was killed. This was allegedly also confirmed by Baloyi in her extended statement, in which she confirmed seeing Mathibela at the meeting between Bozwana and Mbalula.
In an affidavit dated January 12 2016 and seen by Sunday World, Major-General Vincent Leshabane, who was also working on the case, detailed how Mbalula had contacted him in December 2015 and promised to hand over Mathibela to the police after a warrant for his arrest was issued. But Mbalula had allegedly failed to honour his promise.
Mathibela was only arrested after he handed himself over at the Brooklyn police station following his positive identification by one of the gang members on CCTV footage obtained from the Sandton shops visited by Bozwana and Baloyi on the day of the murder.
In the CCTV footage and images, Mathibela is seen pointing out Bozwana to two men, who are currently behind bars and undergoing trial for Bozwana’s murder.
Police have also allegedly uncovered that Mbalula was also in contact with Mathibela on the day of Bozwana’s murder. This, along with Mbalula’s call to Mohale, had raised eyebrows, prompting police to believe he could be helpful to the case.
Mbalula confirmed he was interviewed by the police about the murder, but he said it was a long time ago and he could not understand why it was being brought up now.
He told Sunday World yesterday that he was interviewed by Leshabane over the matter and said that some of his information had helped police arrest some of the suspects.
Though he declined to respond to several questions sent to him, Mbalula confirmed he was aware of some of the allegations against him, saying they had been brought to his attention by former national police commissioner Riah Phiyega. However, he claimed the allegations
were produced by rogue elements within the police’s crime intelligence unit who wanted
to besmirch his reputation by linking him to Bozwana’s murder. “They are trying to frame me that I was involved in the murder case. Those reports have been there… Police interviewed me right
Police interviewed me right from the onset on this matter.
The publication of the story amounts to malice,” he said. On the Mathibela allegations, he said: “I never made any promise to Major-General Leshabane to hand over Vusi Khekhe. Leshabane is the one who came to obtain a statement from me. If he says there’s an affidavit then I don’t know. I have nothing to do with Vusi Khekhe with regard to the murder of Bozwana.”
He also denied knowing Mohale. Mahumapelo reiterated his earlier comment, stating that he was not involved in the murder of Bozwana. “There’s a political motive to use the name of the deceased to defame, cause irreparable harm to my reputation as part of a political onslaught on me,” he said.
Mahumapelo added that the alleged evidence of the police could not be trusted, arguing that anything that had to do with technology could be manipulated.
“I will prove that I was not there. I’m also shocked because that information has been there for some time. Why was it not acted upon?” he asked. A witness statement deposed with the police by one of Bozwana’s confidantes stated that Bozwana and Mohale, who were once business associates, were allegedly not on speaking terms at the time of his death. The two, according to the statement seen by Sunday World, had a fallout after Bozwana had helped Mohale’s company secure a R102-million tender for bulk water supply in the Northern Cape. It’s not clear what led to the rift between the two businessmen.
Police spokesperson Mathapelo Peters said: “I can confirm that the murder case of the late businessman, Mr Wandile Bozwana, is being investigated by the SAPS Provincial Investigating Unit in Gauteng.
“With this case still open for investigation, we will not comment publicly on any aspect of it as this could compromise the case.”
Mohale could not be reached for comment.
By Aubrey Mothombeni