DA welcomes investigation into ‘dodgy’ Free State asbestos contract with alleged links to Magashule

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The DA has welcomed a move by President Cyril Ramaphosa to investigate an allegedly irregular Free State “Asbestos Contract”

A proclamation by the president in the Government Gazette, published on Friday, will allow for the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) to look into the awarding of a R250m contract by the Free State provincial government

News24 reported previously that documents from the provincial department of human settlements show that a joint venture between Gauteng-based engineering consultancy firm Blackhead Consulting and Igo Mpambani’s company, Diamond Hill Trading 71, scored a R255m contract in 2014 for the “audit and assessment of asbestos housing units”. 

Further records from the provincial human settlements department show that the department paid the joint venture R230m in ten tranches between the end of 2014 and August 2016. 

The SIU has been tasked with establishing if any department employees, service providers or other entities involved with the contact are guilty of irregular procurement or financial misconduct, Daily Maverick reported.

According to the Daily Maverick report, the award took place without a tender process or the correct registration of the joint venture between the two companies.

The DA said in a statement that the investigation may implement high ranking officials such as the HOD of the Human Settlements department, Tim Mokhesi, and former Premier, Ace Magashule. Magashule was premier from 2009 until last year.

The Asbestos Contract, and Magashule’s alleged involvement in it, were explored in Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s book Gangster State.

Mpambani was shot and killed in Sandton in 2017. Leaked document belonging to Mpambani reportedly linked Magashule to the contract, and implied financial irregularities.

The DA has welcomed the move to investigate the contract, adding that in 2015 the DA’s Free State branch took the matter to court in an attempt to stop payments for the contract. After the court deemed the matter not urgent, the DA took the matter to the Public Protector.

“Earlier this year the Public Protector’s office informed the complainant, MP Leona Kleynhans, that there were serious irregularities uncovered in the award of the contract, [and] that criminal charges could be considered…” the DA claims.

The party claims a report dealing with this case has not yet been released by Office of the Public Protector.

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