NEWS & ANALYSIS

SAPS investigating Ace Magashule’s poisoning allegations – Roy Jankielsohn

DA FState LO says allegations add to environment of fear and factional distrust

SAPS investigating Magashule’s poisoning allegations

4 April 2019

In reply to a question in the Free State Legislature the MEC for Police, Roads and Transport, Mr Sam Mashinini, confirmed that former Free State Premier Ace Magashule is still under investigation.

On 17 July 2018, the DA laid criminal charges at the Parys SAPS against the former Premier of the Free State, Mr Ace Magashule, under Section 2 of the Inquest Act (No 58 of 1959) for his failure to report an alleged murder to the SAPS.

Magashule alleged that the former Head of Department, Mr Sandile Msibi, died as a result of poisoning. Failure to report a suspicious death to the police constitutes a criminal offence. Magashule made the allegation public at the funeral of Mr Msibi, stating that prior to his death, there was an attempt to obtain the support of former President Jacob Zuma to send him abroad to Russia to receive treatment.

The DA subsequently submitted a written question to the then Premier, asking him whether an autopsy was conducted to identify the cause of death and whether he reported the matter of suspicion of murder to the SAPS for further investigation.

Magashule replied that these comments were made at a private event and, as such, are not subject to oversight by the Legislature. We formally objected to the reply in writing to the Speaker of the Legislature, Ms Mamiki Qabathe, to which we never received a response.

A close ally to Magashule, the late Mr Msibi headed a department that is fraught with nepotism and corruption. It is alleged that he was under investigation by law enforcement agencies at the time of his death and was about to expose his cronies in crime.

In reply to a written question the DA submitted to the Minister of Police, it was disclosed that the alleged murder was not reported, but, considering the seriousness of the matter, that the SAPS has opened an enquiry case docket.

Such allegations by the former Premier of the Free State adds to the environment of fear and factional distrust within a government whose employees are still traumatised by the Vrede Dairy Project related murder of Moses Tshake, a former employee of the Department of Agriculture’s finance section who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered allegedly because of his enquiries into this corrupt Gupta-linked project.

The most recent reply from the MEC confirms that Magashule is under investigation (see reply below). It remains a concern that this case remains ongoing.

One would expect the SAPS to expedite a murder investigation in which the former HOD responsible for police in the province was a victim and since the allegations of murder were made by Magashule, who was Premier at the time.

The slow pace of the investigation and failure to carry out the necessary tests on the victim to determine whether he was in fact poisoned indicates an unwillingness to investigate this matter by the SAPS, whose management have close ties with Magashule.

The DA will continue to probe this matter to ensure that the truth is exposed.

19 Hon. R Jankielsohn (DA) asks the Hon. MEC responsible for PR&T: Mr. S Mashinini.

19.1 Whether the inquiry by the SAPS into the alleged poisoning of the former HOD Msibi has been completed, if not, (a) what outstanding issues are still being investigated and (b) when will it be completed, if so, (c) whether the body of the alleged murder victim was exhumed for an autopsy, if not, why not, if so, what are the relevant findings of the autopsy and (d) what were the outcomes of the entire investigation?

19.2 Whether the case that was lodged at the Parys SAPS against the former Premier in terms of the Inquest Act (58 of 1959) on 17 July 2018 has been investigated, if not, why not, if so, what are the relevant details?

RESPONSE

No, the enquiry is still under investigation.

(a) Statement of the medical practitioner/ doctor is still outstanding. Medical records of the deceased is still outstanding. Section 205 has been applied to obtain information.

(b) It is not possible to indicate the time frame. The extent of the investigation will determine the finalisation.

(c) The body of the deceased is not yet exhumed, investigation is still continuing.

(d) Yes, the investigation against the former Premier in terms of investigated under Enquiry Case 02/01/2018 (alleged poisoning) and the investigation is still continuing.

Issued by Roy Jankielsohn, DA MPL and Leader of the Opposition in the Free State Legislature, 4 April 2019