The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) Serious Corruption Investigation team this week raided Free State Social Development MEC Motshidise Koloi’s properties in Bloemfontein and Gauteng, seizing documents and electronic devices.
The surprise visit came after the court issued a search warrant following allegations of money laundering and corruption against Koloi.
Without mentioning Koloi’s name, Hawks national spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale confirmed to the Falcons that a raid was conducted at Koloi’s properties on Wednesday.
“On July 12, 2023, members of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) Serious Corruption Investigation based in Bloemfontein were assisted by relevant stakeholders to execute search and seizure operations at properties linked to a Free State member of the executive council (MEC). The searches were conducted in Free State and Gauteng simultaneously.
“Allegations of money laundering prompted the operation and corruption levelled against the MEC. The investigation led to search warrants being issued by the court,” Mogale said.
Koloi did not respond to questions sent to her by the Falcons. Her spokesperson Thabo Baleni said on Wednesday that he could not confirm that the search and seizure took place.
A senior staff member at Koloi’s office told the Falcons that her boss left the office on Tuesday morning during an important meeting without indicating where she was headed. “Her phone has been off the whole day and we don’t know what’s happening, but we suspect it has to do with the Hawks operation.”
Koloi is not the only senior politician on the radar of law enforcement agencies in the Free State. In January, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) announced that it had been given a mandate by President Cyril Ramaphosa to investigate allegations of serious maladministration in the affairs of the Office of Premier under Ace Magashule.
The allegations include the office’s annual report for the 2017/2018 financial year concerning the approval, allocation, or payments of bursaries, including travel, accommodation, and stipends to persons not entitled to them.
The investigating unit is also to probe any irregular, improper, or unlawful conduct by the officials or employees of the Office of the Premier or any other person or entity, relating to matters linked to this investigation.
Magashule was elected premier in May 2009 and his term ended in December 2017 after he was elected ANC secretary-general. He was replaced by his ally Sisi Ntombela, who was ousted in February 2023 by Mxolisi Dukwana, an ally of Ramaphosa.
In January, the Free State premier’s spokesperson, Sello Dithebe, told Independent Media that the premier’s office would support the SUI in its investigation.
“Perhaps for your own interest, you might find it pleasant to know that the Office of the Premier will support the SIU in staging a roadshow to raise corruption awareness in the Free State, the details of which will be released by the SIU later this month,” Dithebe said.
“The Office of the Premier and the Free State provincial government as a whole, despite the many years of incidence of malfeasance and corruption in the province, are willing and committed to working with bodies such as the SIU, the public protector, National Treasury, and all law enforcement agencies to ensure that the Free State becomes the quintessential model of an ethical and capable sphere of government that bears state authority with honour,” Dithebe said.