Ace Magashule’s name looms large as state capture inquiry hears evidence on FS housing tenders

Former MEC of human settlements in the Free State Mosebenzi Zwane appeared at the state capture commission on Friday.
Image: Sizwe Ndingane

The name of former Free State premier Ace Magashule loomed large in the testimony of former human settlements MEC Mosebenzi Zwane on Friday at the commission of inquiry into state capture.

Zwane on Friday denied a claim made by former Free State head of human settlements department Mpho Mokoena that Zwane issued instructions for businesswoman Rochelle Els to get contracts to build houses in the province during 2010.

Zwane was at the inquiry to complete evidence concerning a series of housing matters that happened in the province that year.

During his testimony in October, Zwane blamed officials regarding an illegal R600m prepayment to suppliers which took place under his watch.

Evidence leader Paul Pretorius said Els’ company, Thuthela Bagolo Trading Enterprise CC, was one of the 106 entities that appeared on a provincial list of contractors which were allocated housing contracts in the province during that period.

Pretorius said Mokoena believed Els was close to Magashule.

Pretorius said Mokwena held this belief because Zwane used to tell Mokwena that Magashule had said Els should appoint her company, and that her claims should be expedited.

Zwane denied this claim.

“The head of department Gift Mokoena was closer to the former premier than me. If there was an issue of that nature, that issue would be communicated with him, not me,” Zwane said.

Pretorius said another company which was on the database and which was allocated housing contracts made a payment, which was acknowledged by Magashule’s PA at the time, Moroadi Cholota.

Pretorius said Rob’s Construction’s sole owner was Blacky Seoe, who died recently.

“Blacky Seoe and Mr Magashule were co-directors of an entity known as Sambal. That evidence comes from a transcript of an interview that the investigators had with Mr Seoe. He has since deceased, recently deceased,” Pretorius said.

Pretorius said that after receiving housing contracts in 2010, Rob’s Construction made a payment to an entity called Sed Trade.

He said that payment was acknowledged by Cholota.

“This may have been on the instruction of the premier’s office, we do not know that. That may be an inference that might be drawn,” Pretorius said.

Pretorius said that payment was copied to Cholota, who noted it.

by Ernest Mabuza