South Africa: Pressure Mounts On Alleged Free State Capture Masterminds

ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule (file photo).

Pressure is mounting on the main role players allegedly linked to the capture of the Free State province.

The ruling ANC party has scheduled a special National Executive Committee meeting for Monday; and it is expected a series of explosive revelations emanating from Pieter-Louis Myburgh's new book, GangsterState: Unravelling Ace Magashule's Web of Capture, will form part of the agenda.

The book, launched on Sunday, provides a damning account of ANC secretary general Ace Magashule's term as Free State premier, placing him at the centre of corrupt practices, including allegations he took kickbacks from a R230m asbestos audit tender.

Myburgh's book also claims Magashule:used undemocratic means to cling to power in the Free State;helped facilitate government business for at least one of his children, while another worked for the Guptas;met the Guptas on various occasions to discuss business dealings and even took the mayor of Bloemfontein along; andused his position as premier to influence and direct spending of R2bn in housing contracts to politically connected business people.

Magashule has dismissed the allegations contained in extracts from Myburgh's book printed by major Sunday newspapers and News24 as "fake news".

But, Myburgh claims, Magashule did not respond to a list of 60 questions over the plethora of revelations the investigative journalist's investigation uncovered.

Similarly, in November last year when News24 questioned Magashule over revelations by former Free State economic development MEC Mxolisi Dukwana and other sources, Magashule did not respond.

This week he may be forced to face and answer allegations that he took Dukwana to meet the Gupta family in 2011 when Dukwana appears before the Zondo Commission of inquiry into state capture on Friday.

He is likely to testify about his, Magashule and the Guptas' role in the failed "City for Tomorrow" project in 2011 from which the Guptas had allegedly planned to net R80m.

Dukwana was scheduled to appear last Monday, but his legal representative told chairperson of the commission, deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, that documents crucial to his testimony - including phone records and his official diary - had not been forthcoming.

Zondo was not pleased.

He explained that he had spoken with Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela regarding a request he had made for co-operation and documents last year. Ntombela assured him of her and the provincial government's commitment to working with the commission.

But by Monday, the documents had not been forthcoming.

"I have directed that arrangements be made with the provincial government, particularly the director general of the province, to make it possible for investigators of the commission, a member of the legal team, a member of Mr Dukwana's legal team, and Mr Dukwana to meet in Bloemfontein," said Zondo.

On Tuesday, Ntombela issued a statement saying some documents sought by Dukwana had been handed to him on March 15, but other documents could not be found.

Ntombela said officials would meet with investigators and Dukwana as directed by Zondo in the hope of reaching a resolution.

In October 2018, News24 reported on an Anton Piller application by Dukwana in which he sought that the documents be seized and taken into custody by an attorney.

Dukwana was barred from his office after Magashule removed him as MEC in 2012, and told News24 that the documents and cell phone records would prove his version.

News24

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