Missing activist Vusi Mahlangu was on Tuesday night detained in custody on charges of perjury and defeating the ends of justice.

Mahlangu‚ who reportedly claimed he was kidnapped in Mthatha last Tuesday and later assaulted‚ was arrested on Tuesday by members of the Hawks.


He is a leader of the #Outsourcingmustfall campaign at universities.

Mahlangu was earlier seen in the provincial Hawks offices in East London where he was accompanied by two lawyers‚ one from Johannesburg and the other from East London.

News of his disappearance made headlines around the country‚ however the circumstances surrounding his mysterious disappearance and subsequent arrest remained unclear on Tuesday.

Mahlangu‚ 33‚ who hails from Mpumalanga‚ was in town to support striking Walter Sisulu University workers‚ fighting outsourcing at the university.

On the day of his disappearance‚ Mahlangu was due to attend a workers meeting at about 10am at WSU’s Nelson Mandela Drive campus.

He was apparently kidnapped while on his way there. One of the workers‚ Monwabisi Nkuzo‚ later received a WhatsApp message from Mahlangu’s phone telling him to open a case of kidnapping with police.

The message added that Mahlangu was in a dark room but was unsure if he had been arrested or kidnapped.

Nkuzo showed the Dispatch the conversation thread on his phone.

In one message Nkuzo asks Mahlangu where he is. He responds: “I am not sure leader … its dark here … I can’t see … please open a case of potential kidnapping.”

In another he writes: “I am bleeding. I am not at police station … is too dark here … my phones battery will die soon … I am bleeding nkokeli [my leader] … bandibethile ababantu [these people have beaten me].”

On Tuersday‚ Mahlangu looked physically well and only spoke when he objected to the presence of the media during his consultation with provincial Hawks boss Major-General Nyameko Nogwanya.

His lawyers Luleka Flatela from Johannesburg and Maswazi Bayete from East London also objected to the media being present‚ calling it an “ambush”.

Hawks spokeswoman Lieutenant Anelisa Feni said Mahlangu would appear in court soon.

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