Ace Magashule’s Free State Capture - Patricia Kopane

DA PC says Zondo Commission should investigate the conduct of the former Premier

Magashule’s Free State Capture: DA requests Zondo Commission to investigate

Notes to editors:

Please find attached SesothoEnglish and Afrikaans soundbites by the DA Free State Premier Candidate, Patricia Kopane.

Please click here and here for photos.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has compiled a dossier containing allegations of corruption that have been made against Ace Magashule over the last years.

This includes Magashule's involvement in the controversial Vrede dairy project (where some of the project's money was allegedly used to pay for the extravagant Gupta wedding in 2013), his office's dodgy contracts with media companies as well as the Sedgars/Sedtrade contracts.

This morning we sent a letter to the Zondo Commission of Inquiry, detailing many of these allegations. This follows Ace Magashule’s declaration this past weekend that he is willing to appear before the Judge Zondo Commission of Inquiry. Please click here to view the letter.

The DA welcomes this and has requested the Commission not to allow Magashule to focus only on his alleged corrupt links with the Gupta family, but to look into the totality of allegations against him, because this complete picture is clearly one of Provincial Capture.

During his tenure as the Premier of the Free State Province, the province regressed fundamentally; out of a total population of 2.8m people more than a million are dependent on social grant for their livelihood which makes the Free State one of the most poverty-stricken provinces in the country.

Unemployment in the Free State has continuously increased up to a point where four out of ten Free Staters are now unable to find permanent employment, while two out of three job seekers between the ages of 18-25 have no realistic chance of accessing employment.

Governance has deteriorated to a point where all municipalities in the province have collapsed or are on the verge of collapse. Free State municipalities are serial offenders in respect of non-payment to Eskom and water boards, while also failing to render other basic services like sanitation and refuse removal in a reliable manner.

In the period between 2013 and 2017 alone nearly R1 billion was lost through the wasteful expenditure of Free State Municipalities. This was caused by Magashule deploying only those in his factional circle to leadership positions in councils and administrations of municipalities without the necessary skills or based on nepotism.

The Provincial government of Ace Magashule mismanaged health services up to a point where the department is faced with R1.5 billion of malpractice litigation claims. People cannot access proper basic health care both in the hospitals and in the clinics on daily basis.

The Provincial Department of Education has also been branded by the Auditor-General as non-viable entity because of over-expenditure. Between 2013 and 2017 provincial departments have been guilty of spending nearly R2 billion in an unanuthorised manner, the type of spending which according to the Auditor-General is the strongest indicator of possible corruption due to a lack of political oversight and accountability.

While maladministration is partly to blame for the failures of provincial departments and municipalities over the last 9 years, the probability is that the bulk of the people's money that was not spent properly, has been lost through institutionalized corruption by the manipulation of supply chain procedures.

In addition to information on the allegations against Magashule which have been in the public domain for some time, we can reveal today that over the last weeks we have received information indicating that the manner and volume of awards to two companies by the provincial government must be questioned and investigated.

Over the last years both Sedtrade and E’tsho have benefitted more and more from awards made by provincial departments up to a point where it is possible that the majority of provincial contracts are now handled by these two companies. What is even more serious is that it has now come to our knowledge that they in fact operate jointly as a consortium on contracts such as the construction of Thuto ke Thebe Primary School in Mangaung.

At best this indicates a failure to ensure competitive bidding and proper bid processes, but it has also been alleged to us that the ANC, Magashule and his family have been benefitting privately from the awarding of contracts.

When Magashule appears in front of the Zondo Commission he must account for these new allegations in addition to the other known allegations against him and the provincial government which he presided over for eight years.

We also call on any person who may have specific information of relevance to the provincial capture in the Free State to either make contact with the Zondo Commission, or to contact our offices for assistance in making protected disclosures.

Only the DA is committed in fighting corruption in order to ensure that tax payers monies are used for the benefit of all South Africans.

Statement issued by Patricia Kopane, DA Free State Premier Candidate, 26 September 2018