DA calls on NPA to act decisively in the Magashule Pierneef painting scandal
5 September 2019
The DA calls on the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to exercise its authority without fear or favour and prosecute politicians, and their associates, implicated in the Pierneef painting scandal.
An opportunity has been presented to act decisively and prosecute Ace Magashule and Co on the issue regarding the “alleged theft” of a Pierneef painting from the office of the former Free State Premier.
A Pierneef painting with an estimated value of R8 million was allegedly given away by former Free State Premier Ace Magashule to his former bodyguard, Mr Ricardo Mettler, as a parting gift when he vacated his office.
This follows the confirmation on Wednesday morning that the Hawks have completed their investigation into the “alleged theft” of the artwork and the docket has been submitted to the NPA for a decision to be made on whether to prosecute.
News surfaced in October 2018 that a painting by South African artist JH Pierneef, belonging to the Free State provincial government, was allegedly passed on to a Bloemfontein businessman by Magashule’s former bodyguard who had the artwork valuated at an auction house.
An initial question posed in the Free State Legislature by the DA to the new Premier Sisi Ntombela indicated that an investigation was taking place without supplying a case number. The DA then posed another question to the MEC for Police, Roads and Transport in the Free State, Mr Sam Mashinini, regarding this issue (see attached question and reply here). In reply, Mashinini indicated that the “alleged theft” of the Pierneef painting from the Office of the Premier in the Free State has been investigated and that the case was forwarded to the NPA for a decision.
Given the NPA’s track record with investigations regarding politicians such as the withdrawal of cases against former MEC’s Mathabo Leeto and Benny Malakoane regarding allegations of corruption in Matjhabeng Municipality and the Vrede Dairy case involving politicians and officials, the DA is concerned that this case involving the former Premier and current Secretary-General of the ANC could be swept under the carpet.
Magashule’s legacy in the Free State continues long after his redeployment to Luthuli House. The NPA has the opportunity to show South Africans that no-one is above the law. The DA remain hopeful that the NPA shall sweep clean and prosecute politicians who seek to make a mockery of, and undermine, South Africa’s judicial system. This will also assist in re-establishing the public’s trust in South Africa’s prosecuting authorities and protect the people of the Free State whose assets continue to be in danger from ANC cadres who still take instructions from Luthuli House.
Issued by Roy Jankielsohn, DA MPL and Leader of the Official Opposition in the Free State Provincial Legislature, 5 September 2019