Magashule was offered R10m bribe in asbestos heist deal, Zondo commission hears

Magashule was offered R10m bribe in asbestos heist deal, Zondo commission hears
Johannesburg - ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, as well as former Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs captain Jimmy Tau, were on Wednesday named among beneficiaries of bribes paid by a joint venture awarded a dodgy R255million contract in the Free State.

Former Free State economic development MEC Mxolisi Dukwana on Wednesday told the commission of inquiry probing state capture that the deal was effectively an “asbestos heist” and a “brazen act of corruption executed by government officials at the behest of Magashule”.

Dukwana said the “asbestos heist” was part of a R255million contract to audit all pre-1994 government-issued housing with asbestos roofing in the Free State when Magashule was premier in 2014.

He claimed that the project was intended to siphon public resources and created a situation where politicians pretended to be concerned about the health of poor people living in houses with asbestos roofing.

According to Dukwana, for his troubles, Magashule was allegedly offered a R10million bribe.

Sandton, Joburg-based businessman Edwin Sodi’s Blackhead Consulting partnering Ignatius Mpambani’s Diamond Hill Trading 71 was apparently part of the joint venture in the project.

“The commission should subpoena Edwin Sodi to explain the genesis of this project,” Dukwana said.

According to Dukwana, Mpambani, who was gunned down in Sandton in 2017, allegedly showed him spreadsheets of business costs for the deal that Blackhead Consulting was awarded by the Free State Human Settlements Department without following a competitive bidding process. The so-called “business costs” were just a colloquial term to hide bribery.

The mysterious “Mr X” was also in line for a bribe of about R10m for working with Blackhead Consulting.

Other senior provincial government leaders and officials who were in line to share in the millions set aside for bribes included Mangaung mayor Olly Mlamleli, who was the Human Settlements MEC at the time, and her other colleagues in Magashule’s executive.

Dukwana testified that Thabo Mokhesi, who was head of the Free State Department of Human Settlements, was promised R5m but instead received R2.5m.

He said Mpambani also informed him he was working with a person identified as “JT”, who he later discovered was former Bafana Bafana defender Tau, who he (Mpambani) was planning to meet in Kimberley, Tau’s home town.

Dukwana said Mpambani was in constant communication with Magashule’s personal assistant, Moroadi Cholota, when he was premier.

The commission also heard how Magashule was allegedly asked to pay for the school fees of suspended SA Revenue Service chief officer Refiloe Mokoena’s daughter to study abroad.

Dukwana said Mokoena sent an e-mail to Cholota reminding Magashule that she needed $24298 (about R375000 in today’s money) to settle her daughter’s fees.

Political Bureau