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Mbalula orders forensic probe into failed Mangaung bus project

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FACT-FINDING MISSION . . . Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula on one of the buses earmarked for the Mangaung Integrated Public Transport Network

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula says he has appointed a forensic investigator to look into allegations of fraud and corruption in the construction of the R2-billion Mangaung Integrated Public Transport Network that has since ground to a halt.

Work on the public transport network project kicked off in 2019, but came to an abrupt end hardly a year later when the main contractor moved off site citing budgetary issues and other complications with the municipality.

Mbalula, who was on a fact-finding mission in Mangaung, said the investigation will not interfere with the project which he wants completed by October.

“They will do the work without fear or favour,” Mbalula told journalists on Tuesday.

“They will start with the buses, they will go to the infrastructure . . . then bring the report and the report will be processed.

“Where there are corruption allegations, they will be forwarded to the Hawks, they will be forwarded to ID (Investigating Directorate) to help with the investigations.

“They will also be forwarded to SIU (Special Investigating Unit).

“We are on top of the situation – the real work has actually started.”

Mbalula said the people of Mangaung have been waiting for the bus service for a long time to no avail.

He said metros like Johannesburg, Tshwane and Cape Town had successful rollouts and he would like to see the same happening in Mangaung.

He expressed hope that the problems encountered by the Free State capital will be uncovered by the investigation and that the project was getting the necessary interventions so that it resumes.

“Moshoeshoe Road in Mangaung has been mired with challenges – its users have been repeatedly asking the municipality to address them,” the minister said.

“The work here that stopped needs to resume and be completed,” he added.

“The current projection is that it will be done and operational by October.

“But we think we can get it back before October.”

Mbalula described it as unfortunate and disastrous that a publicly funded project aimed at turning Mangaung into a smart city had been stopped.

However, a confident Mangaung executive mayor, Mxolisi Siyonzana, is quoted by the SABC as saying the project will be completed sooner.

It’s not clear how the project will be resuscitated and completed in just three months given that there is no contractor on site presently.

“I had a meeting with my team two weeks ago and I asked them what’s happening on Moshoeshoe Road,” said Siyonzana.

“They told me that the contractor who was contracted to build the road . . . the contract has come to an end.

“As we speak, we are going to make sure that the Moshoeshoe Road is completed by the end of September or October.” – Staff Reporter

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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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