Victim of Buti Manamela’s wife loses faith in justice

VIP protection officer Lizzy Mojapelo – who was allegedly assaulted by Nomvuyo Mhlakaza Manamela, the wife of Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Buti Manamela – has revealed that she has a pending case against another high-ranking official.

Mhlakaza-Manamela is facing charges of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and crimen injuria and is due to appear in the Johannesburg magistrates’ court on Tuesday.

Sunday World has learnt that Mojapelo opened a case of assault against the controversial top police officer, Boitumelo Ramahlaha, in 2019.

The incident occurred before she was allegedly assaulted by Manamela’s wife when she was heavily pregnant at the politician’s home in 2020.

It is alleged that Ramahlaha attacked Mojapelo on November 12 2019 during the African Investment Forum at the Sandton Convention Centre, where she was deployed for “a special duty task”.

Speaking to Sunday World, the distraught VIP officer said Ramahlaha found her in a different post at the event. She was not wearing her service cap while chatting to some of her colleagues. She said Ramahlaha, who was captain at the time, approached her and asked why she did not have her cap on.

She said upon trying to explain that she had left her cap at her post while she took a break to engage with colleagues, Ramahlaha became visibly aggressive towards her. He screamed at her, strangled her and touched her breast.

She asked her commander to intervene because she could not defend herself. When she did not receive help, she decided to file a case of assault and harassment. Mojapelo added the case was not immediately registered. She then approached the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, where she found out the case had not been registered.

She said each time she asked the investigating officer about the case, he told her that he was held up in Free State.

In a letter of demand, which we have seen, Ramahlaha refuted the allegations, arguing they have cost him his reputation. Ramahlaha, through his lawyers, Phetla Attorneys, explained that he approached Mojapelo because she did not comply with the SA Police Service (SAPS) orders and regulations. According to him, not only was Mojapelo on duty without her service cap but her accreditation also displayed a different surname, which did not correspond with the one engraved on her uniform.

Mojapelo, whose maiden surname is Masilela, had just gotten married. She explained that her tag had a different surname as she had already changed it at the home affairs and was awaiting the delivery of her new service name badge with the new surname.

Ramahlaha said he approached Mojapelo to “align [the] apparent irregularity” but she responded in an unduly manner. In compensation for his purportedly tainted image, Ramahlaha demandedR150 000.

After dragging for three years, Mojapelos’ case was scheduled to be heard at the Randburg magistrates’ court in April. However, at the time she was due for her appearance in the matter against Mhlakaza-Manamela.

“I did nothing wrong. They [SAPS] failed me. My commanders … are protecting Manamela and this guy,” Mojapelo said.

For failure to respond to the summons issued to her, Mojapelo now faces a high chance of paying Ramahlaha for allegedly defaming him.

Donald Phetla of Phetla Attorneys said she did not reply and failed to deliver her plea within the set due date, as a result they are planning to serve her with a notice of bar.

Phetla said: “We are going to issue a notice of bar… because she failed to defend the application for defamation of character.

“We made a follow up by issuing the letter of demand and later, summons, but she failed to defend the summons as well. Now we are going to bar her from filing any pleas or any replies to our summons.”

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