Dukwana tells state capture inquiry of 'asbestos heist' in Free State
Johannesburg - Former Free State MEC Mxolisi Dukwana has described former Free State premier Ace Magashule as a “blesser” who sourced funds for his associates from a businessman who was awarded a multi-million rand asbestos contract by the Free State department of human settlements.
Dukwana took the stand at the Zondo commission on Wednesday and revealed in detail about what he described as the “asbestos heist”.
The Free State department of human settlements had in 2014 awarded a controversial contract for the auditing of houses that were built with asbestos in the province. The contract was awarded to Diamond Hill, a company owned by businessman Ignatius Mpambani, and Blackhead Consulting, as a joint venture.
The price tag for the cost of the project was set at R255 million for assessing 300 000 houses. Dukwana said there were several issues with the contract and that it’s awarding to the two companies was done without tender processes being followed.
He also questioned the exorbitant money to be used to fund the contract as he believes the government could have conducted an audit of the asbestos houses without the need to hire a source. Dukwana said local councillors could have been used to draw this information.
"The Constitution demands of a government to be very efficient, effective and economical in dealing with the public purse. Every municipality has ward committees, it has Ward councillors. This could have been gathered using the people that are there at a local level without paying a cent. You will then know how many of the houses have asbestos,” he said.
Dukwana said what was more concerning was how the funds for the project were being used to fund and assist close associates of now ANC secretary-general Magashule.
The former MEC provided emails that showed how Magashule's assisants would communicate with Mpambani at various points requesting funds to be paid to certain accounts.
Dukwana insisted that this was done by Magashule’s staffers, Ipeleng Morake and Moroadi Cholota, at his behest.
The commission even heard how a former acting Judge Refiloe Mokoena, now a suspended Sars employee, wrote to Magashule seeking assistance with the payment of her daughter's college fees in the US.
Magashule’s assistant forwarded the details to Mbampani and the fees were paid which amounted to about $4000, about R60 000.
"This gives the picture that Miss Refiloe requested that the premier settle her daughter's fees and one of the PAs to the premier sent that request to Mr Mpambani and he made payment of $4,000 and sent proof of payment,” said commission chair deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo.
Mpambani also made numerous payments to various universities following requests from Magashule’s assistant.
"An inference could be drawn that each time payment was advanced to Blackhead Consulting by the Free State department of housing, Cholota or Morake would inform Magashule, followed by an onerous request or instruction to Mpambani resulting in the latter making payments as requested by Magashule,” said Dukwana.
Dukwana went as far as describing and accusing Magashule as a blesser who used state funds for his benefit.
“Magashule was simply a blesser to many due to payments advanced by Mr Mpambani from monies corruptly and fraudulently sourced from the state coffers through the asbestos project at the behest of Mr Magashule,” said Dukwana.
Mpambani was shot dead in Sandton last year.