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Judgment reserved as state claims Magashule ‘taking his chances’

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Staff Reporter

Former Free State premier Ace Magashule will have to wait for up to three months to know the outcome of civil litigation proceedings that he and three of his co-accused in the asbestos corruption case initiated in a bid to have charges against them thrown out.

Magashule, together with former head of department for Free State human settlements Nthimotse Mokhesi, businessman Edwin Sodi and former human settlements director-general Thabane Wiseman Zulu, this week approached the Free State High Court claiming their arrests were unlawful and that the charges against them were frivolous and should therefore be dismissed.

The four, who are part of the 16 accused in the failed asbestos audit and removal project valued at about R255 million, are claiming through their legal representatives that they were arrested just a few weeks after testifying at the State Capture Commission, meaning the state allegedly strongly relied on the evidence they gave.

This, they say, is against the law because any self-incriminating evidence they gave at the commission cannot be used against them in a court of law.

The state, they argue, should conduct its own investigations.

On Tuesday, Magashule’s legal counsel Advocate Laurence Hodes told court that his client was not an executive authority in the Free State human settlements department and therefore had no control over the asbestos project.

“There is no evidence in the docket of a legitimate case against me,” said Magashule through his lawyer.

He added: “The trial is a politically motivated fishing expedition aimed at discredit me.”

However, Advocate Nazeer Cassim, acting for the state, dismissed Magashule’s assertions saying the state had a strong case against him and that he was taking chances in his pursuit to have the charges dropped.

He told court the suspended ANC secretary-general and his legal team did not adequately study the docket because there is a clear-cut case against him.

Judge Soma Naidoo has reserved judgment, which is expected before May to allow the criminal case to resume on June 10.

The matter relates to a failed asbestos audit and removal project commissioned by the Free State Human Settlements Department around 2014.

According to the state, the department engaged Sodi, his company Blackhead Consulting (Pty) Ltd and joint-venture partner Diamond Hill (Pty) Ltd as a professional resource team for the eradication of asbestos in the Free State.

Diamond Hill was owned by the late Ignatius Mupambani who was murdered in 2017.

Sodi and his joint-venture partner then subcontracted the work to Sello Joseph Radebe and his company Mastertrade 232 (Pty) Ltd at a cost of about R44.2 million.

Radebe and his company further subcontracted the work to Abel Kgotso Manyeki and his company Ori Group (Pty) Ltd at a cost of nearly R21.4 million.

There are 16 accused in the matter including five companies.

The state alleges that Magashule, former human settlements MEC Olly Mlamleli and government officials had a legal duty to comply with the stipulations in the Public Finance Management Act as well as treasury regulations.

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Two Free State women allegedly killed by ‘druggie’ sons

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SHOCKING MURDER . . . A 65-year-old woman was allegedly stabbed with a sharp object by her 28-year-old son after she failed to give him money to buy drugs

Two women from Mangaung have allegedly been attacked and killed in two separate incidents by their own sons believed to be using drugs.

In the latest incident which happened in Kagisanong along Masike Street at the weekend, a 65-year-old woman was allegedly stabbed with a sharp object by her 28-year-old son after she failed to give him money to buy drugs.

Police spokesperson for Mangaung Metro Lieutenant Colonel Thabo Covane said in the woman died on the scene from the stab wounds.

“The victim had visible multiple stab wounds on the head and body,” he said, adding the matter was reported by the brother to the deceased, who was also attacked by the suspect who is now in police custody.

Covane said the complainant informed the police that the suspect is believed to be using drugs and had asked his now deceased mother for money to buy drugs but she told him that she didn’t have money.

“The suspect got angry, went out of the house, came back with a piece of iron and stabbed the deceased with it several times,” he explained.

“When he was done, he turned to the complainant and also stabbed him on the chest.”

Covane said the uncle survived the attack but the daring suspect locked them inside the house and had to wait until Friday morning to get help.

The suspect was later traced and arrested by the police.
He is expected to appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court this Monday facing charges of murder and attempted murder.

In a similar case, a 42-year-old man will be applying for bail at the Botshabelo Magistrates Court on the same day after allegedly strangling to death his 71-year-old mother last Sunday, August 7, 2022 in the E-Section, Botshabelo.

The suspect is also said to history of substance abuse.

Free State acting provincial police commissioner, Major General Modise, condemned the killing of the two elderly women. – Staff Reporter

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Magashule loses ConCourt bid to reverse ANC suspension

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APPLICATION DISMISSED . . . The Constitutional Court says Ace Magashule has no prospects of successfully appealing his suspension as ANC secretary-general

Former Free State premier Ace Magashule has lost his latest court bid to have his suspension as ANC secretary-general lifted.

He had approached the Constitutional Court seeking to have his temporary ousting from Luthuli House reversed.

In a judgment handed down on Wednesday, the apex court said Magashule had no prospects of successfully appealing his suspension.

“The Constitutional Court has considered the application for condonation and the application for leave to appeal. It has concluded that, although there are no reasonable prospects of success on the merits of the application for leave to appeal, the delay in bringing the application for leave to appeal is minimal,” the court said.

Magashule first approached the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg to challenge his suspension, but the matter was dismissed with costs.

He subsequently approached the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), which dismissed the application in January 2022, prompting him to take up his case with the Constitutional Court.

Magashule was suspended from the ANC in May 2021 because of the party’s step-aside rule.

The rule requires ANC members facing criminal charges to step aside while their court cases are under way.

Magashule is facing corruption charges linked to the Free State asbestos corruption scandal. – Staff Reporter

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Municipal manager facing tender fraud charges granted bail

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THE ACCUSED . . . Maluti-a-Phofung municipal manager Futhuli Patrick Mothamaha is out on bail

Maluti-a-Phofung municipal manager Futhuli Patrick Mothamaha, 49, was on Friday released on a bail of R500 000 by the Phuthaditjhaba Magistrates Court after he was arrested by The Hawks for fraud, corruption and Contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act.

The state alleges that he allegedly awarded a contract of R58 million to Kill Crime Security Company in 2020 without following proper procurement processes.

National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson Phaladi Shuping said Mothamaha allegedly signed a service level agreement on May 19, 2020, appointing the company to render security services to the municipality for a period of three months without following procurement processes.

“The municipality continued to pay Kill Crime Security Company for almost two years without a contract,” said Shuping.

He said Mothamaha was supposed to appear with his co-accused, father and daughter who are the owners of Kill Crime Security, Thabiso, 55, and Dimakatso Sekhosana, 29, on Monday after they were instructed by The Hawks to hand themselves over on Sunday, but he failed to do so.

The Sekhosanas appeared on Monday facing similar charges and were released on bail of R150 000 each.

Part of Mothamaha’s bail conditions are that he must not enter the offices of the municipality, not interfere with the investigations nor intimidate witnesses.

The case was postponed to September 30 for further investigations. – Staff Reporter

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