FState asbestos matter postponed for pre-trial conference – NPA

Charges relate to R255m contract awarded to Blackhead Consulting joint venture

The Free State asbestos matter postponed for pre-trial conference

15 April 2024

The accused in the Free State asbestos tender matter have made a brief appearance in the High Court of South Africa: Free State Division in Bloemfontein. During their appearance the Judge President of the Free State, presiding over the matter, was informed that the trial was not going to commence as planned due to certain circumstances.

The defence informed the court that accused 5, a company still did not have legal representation and the former Member of the Executive Council (MEC) Sarah Mlamleli, could not be in court as she was still sick and will only be able to be in court in July 2024.The court was informed by the Prosecution that Moroadi Cholota, who is currently in the United States of America, has been arrested by the authorities in America and she is expected to appear in court on Monday 15 April 2024. The state will commence with the extradition process as soon as possible, to have her back in South Africa.

Previously Magashule, Edwin Sodi, Blackhead Consulting and Thabane Zulu, had brought the application, asking the High Court to find that there was no prima facie case that could sustain a successful prosecution against them and their application was dismissed by the court.

They have all been charged, together with Nthimotse Mokhesi, Mahlomola Matlakala, Sello Radebe, Kgotso Manyeki, Sarah Mlamleli, Nozipho Molikoe, Albertus Venter, Moroadi Cholota, Margaret-Ann Deidericks, and three other companies, 602 Consulting Solutions, Mastertrade 232 and Ori Group, with fraud, corruption, money laundering and the contravention of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

The charges relate to a R255 million asbestos contract that was awarded by the Free State Department of Human Settlement to the Blackhead Consulting joint venture, to audit, assess and remove asbestos from homes in some of the Free State’s poorest areas, about six years ago.

The matter has been postponed to 14 June 2024 for Pre-trial Conference that the Prosecuting Authority is hopeful will lead into parties (Prosecution and Defence) agreeing on a suitable date for the trial to commence.

Issued by Mojalefa Senokoatsane, NPA Spokesperson: Acting Free State Division, 15 April 2024