‘Probe Free State tenders under Magashule’

ANC members in the Free State want the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to probe a number of multimillion-rand transactions that were centralised under the premier’s office during Ace Magashule’s term of office.

The group, which marched on the ANC’s provincial headquarters on Wednesday and to the court where Magashule’s co-accused in the R255-million asbestos case appeared in court, says the centralised procurement programme was at the heart of the looting of the province from 2009.

Speaking at a briefing after the march, former economic development MEC Mxolisi Dukwana said they wanted President Cyril Ramaphosa to issue a proclamation allowing the SIU to investigate spending under the programme.

“In 2009 the then premier, through the office of the director general, issued a letter which was issued to all the HODs [heads of department] and CFOs [chief financial officers] that no contract would be entered into without such a contract going through the office of the premier via the legal advisers,’’ Dukwana said.

This, he said, meant Magashule knew all the contracts issued during that period, including those for the Estina dairy project near Vrede and the asbestos contract.

Another project the protesters identified is a new R140-million provincial legislature that had been signed off and paid for but had not been built. Others included a R200-million project to transform hostels at Thabong into family units, which had never been implemented, and failed initiatives to eradicate the bucket toilet system.

The group also wants investigated the decision to lease premises at “exorbitant” prices, allegedly from Magashule’s associates, instead of using government buildings to house departments.

“There has been no action taken over all of these, up till today. The malfeasance and bad corporate governance all have their roots in the period during which Magashule was premier. It does not make sense to arrest MECs and officials, but leave him, especially when he located the procurement and supply chain offices in his office,” Dukwana said.

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Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper
Storyteller.

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