‘Mary Madaka stole my future’

Municipal official siphoned off R1m inheritance of young man she cared for

Daniel Jackson Vanqa
Daniel Jackson Vanqa
Image: Supplied

While working as an accountant in a municipal division meant to assist the poor, a Nelson Mandela Bay woman siphoned off the more than R1m inheritance of a young man she helped raise.

Mary Madaka, 51, has admitted stealing the money intended for Daniel Jackson Vanqa, the son of close family friends over whom she and her husband Mbuyiselo – a DA activist in the Bay – had guardianship.

Mbuyiselo is the brother of renowned Port Elizabeth anti-apartheid activist Topsy Madaka who was killed by security police in 1982.

Vanqa, now 26, who regarded Madaka and her husband as his parents after his father died 11 years ago, says she has robbed him of his future as he struggles to get an education, find a job and take care of his baby boy.

Madaka was supposed to be sentenced in the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court on Thursday following her conviction earlier this year, but did not appear because she had undergone surgery.

Madaka is a section head for the municipality’s Assistance To The Poor programme.

Vanqa said his life had been turned upside down since he learnt about the theft.

“It has taken a toll on my education, not only because of the money but also because of the emotional stress [Madaka’s actions] have caused,” Vanqa said on Thursday.

On turning 21, Vanqa started questioning what had happened to the money that his father, Mxolisi, had left him when he died in 2007.

His mother had died eight years before that.

“I did not know about it [the money] at all – only when I turned 21 did I ask about the will,” Vanqa said.

He had lived with Madaka and her husband since the age of 15.

Vanqa considered them his parents, but things turned sour when he discovered the lies about his father’s estate.

According to court papers, Vanqa was the sole beneficiary of his father’s estate, which had paid a monthly amount towards his upbringing.

He was meant to receive his father’s provident fund amount, with interest, when he turned 18.

However, Madaka had control of the Absa Bank account that the money was paid into, and in just two months – between April and May 2010 – managed to spend the entire amount meant for Vanqa.

“I was told there would be a payout when I turned 21, but that never happened,” he said.

After numerous attempts later to find out what had happened to the money, Vanqa opened a case with the police.

Madaka and her husband were both charged initially.

They appeared in court in March 2016 on charges of theft and contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, and were released on R2,000 bail each.

On March 7 2018, Madaka entered a plea of guilty to both charges, admitting that she had used the money meant for Vanqa for her personal use.

Charges against her husband were withdrawn by the state shortly afterwards.

But the delayed sentencing of Madaka has vexed Vanqa who, as the father of a two-month-old baby boy, wants to move on with his life.

“Things are very stressful at the moment. It is frustrating that the sentencing is taking so long,” he said.

The sentencing was meant to take place on Thursday, but Madaka was not present and the court was told that she had undergone surgery.

Mbuyiselo, who was present in court, said: “She is very sick – she had an operation.”

Madaka’s legal representative, Legal Aid attorney Anlen Murray, said she had received a report from the specialist treating Madaka which indicated that she had been booked off.

State prosecutor Ulrike de Klerk asked magistrate Lionel Lindoor to order that it be the final postponement for sentencing to take place.

Murray said she was in a position to finalise the matter but insisted that if Madaka’s specialist recommended that she not attend the next court date, she would inform all the role players.

Lindoor said: “I am making an order for a final postponement unless I am convinced otherwise on the day.”

Sentencing is set to be handed down on October 5.

Vanqa, who is unemployed, said he wanted the case to be finalised so that he could recoup the money stolen from him, to enable him to study for a marketing qualification.

Municipal spokesperson Mthubanzi Mniki confirmed that Madaka was employed at the municipality.

“The municipality’s human resources [department] will deal with the matter when all the legal processes have been finalised by the court,” he said.

“Human resources is monitoring the case and views such matters in a serious light.”