Malatsi drawn into Big Bay furore

Former deputy social development minister David Malatsi has rejected any suggestion of improper involvement in another controversial property development.

Malatsi appeared before a Cape Town magistrate on Friday morning on a charge of corruption related to alleged kickbacks from the multi-million Roodefontein golf estate at Plettenberg Bay. As he was being granted R10 000 bail, the Cape Argus was reporting that he was involved in a ”furore” over the Big Bay

development at Bloubergstrand in Cape Town.

The newspaper said there were allegations of a large donation to the NNP by the developer, John Rabie — claims similar to those made in the Roodefontein case.

Rabie, it said, had strenuously denied making any donations to the NNP linked to Big Bay. The Argus said Malatsi, who at the time was provincial MEC responsible for development, ignored a recommendation by the province’s planning advisory board, and substantially relaxed tough conditions set in an attempt to protect the sensitive Blouberg coastal environment.

However Malatsi told Sapa the ”shenanigans” around Big Bay were under way before his time. When he visited the site, he said, he did not see the sensitivity that the planning officials referred to.

One supposed high sensitivity core conservation area turned out to be a tar road, and another a braai area used at night as a place of business by prostitutes. ”And I realised that in this particular instance, in all instances, the officials are planning to take over the jobs of politicians if you don’t do what they say,” he said.

He denied ever speaking to anyone about donations linked to Big Bay, and said of Rabie: ”I’ve never even met him. I don’t know what he looks like.”

He said he would welcome an investigation into Big Bay as well as the current Scorpions probe into Roodefontein.

”Everything that smells of anything… I’ve been charged with Roodefontein; why not others as well? I’m not afraid of anything.”

Scorpions representative Sipho Ngwema said the unit was aware of the Big Bay issue.

”There is a possibility that we might have to look at many other developments (in addition to Roodefontein),” he said.

Malatsi appeared on Friday before magistrate Alta le Roux, who postponed the case to April 16 for further investigation. He will appear then alongside former Western Cape premier Peter Marais, who was brought to the same court on the same charge on Wednesday, and released on the same bail.

He must notify Scorpions’ senior special investigator JD Kotze in Cape Town if he wishes to leave the province. He must also make himself available to be phoned and supply the times of his departures and return to the province. Malatsi handed himself over to the Scorpions in Cape Town shortly before 10am.

He told journalists at the Scorpions offices that his handing himself over was not an admission of guilt. He welcomed the investigation and court case which he said would give him an opportunity to clear his name. – Sapa

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Ben Maclennan
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