A response to US President Donald Trump’s tweet about land expropriation in SA has landed a Soweto businessman in trouble.
Freeman Bhengu is being investigated by police after allegedly sending a bomb threat to the US embassy in Pretoria.
Sources close to the investigation said the caller had used his cellphone to make the call, which was recorded and easily traced.
According to the recording, the caller said: “If the US interferes in our affairs then we will bomb the embassy.”
When the Sunday Times contacted Bhengu, he admitted making the threat.
“I did make that bomb threat. Listen, this is about South Africa … one has to be courageous and be brave.”
He claimed to have been delegated by the African Movement Change to respond to Trump’s “interference”.
It is not a registered political party. Bhengu said the manner of the response had been his choice.
The US is bullying us and one has to tell them
Businessman Freeman Bhengu
“The US is bullying us and one has to tell them,” he said.
He said he had been followed since the call. “I suspect that there are cars that are following me.”
According to police sources, the call lasted less than two minutes but was long enough for US officials to track it and report the matter to the police in Sunnyside, Pretoria.
The case has been transferred to the provincial office of the police.
Provincial police spokesperson Col Lungelo Dlamini said a case was being investigated.
Security at the embassy was increased last week after Trump tweeted: “I have asked Secretary of State @SecPompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers. ‘South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers.'”
Carrie Schneider, an acting spokesperson at the embassy, said the mission did not comment on security-related matters “as a matter of policy”.
A source said: “With terrorism and targets of innocent US citizens, anything that is deemed as threats is immediately reported to authorities.”
Bhengu’s lawyer, Nikita Meyer of Van Wyk Oosthuizen Attorneys, said Bhengu was being investigated by the police.
“We don’t know what the charge is,” Meyer said.
“The investigators did call but we will have our informed response once we know what is happening.”
BY BONGANI FUZILE – TimesLIVE
Source: TMG Digital