By Roy Jankielsohn, Leader of the Official Opposition in the Free State Provincial Legislature:
Despite Premier Ace Magashule’s numerous utterances that he and his organisation in government, the ANC, are committed to fight and eradicate corruption in the Free State, his actions prove otherwise.
It is now more clear than ever that Premier Magashule has no intention whatsoever to fight corruption in the province.
Not only has Premier Magashule appointed MEC Malakoane and MEC Leeto to his cabinet while they face criminal charges relating to fraud, corruption and money laundering in court, he blatantly ignores recommendations made in National Treasury reports into financial impropriety.
The DA submitted a written question to the National Minister of Finance, Nhlanhla Nene, whether any disciplinary action will be taken against implicated persons identified in a National Treasury report following an investigation into the controversial R190 million Vrede Dairy Project.
Minister Nene replied that National Treasury is unable to institute disciplinary action and that the report was handed over to Premier Magashule, who as head of the provincial administration, is empowered in Law to take such action. The former acting MEC for Agriculture, Olly Mlamleli, has previously given conflicting replies to questions in the Legislature about this report. Needless to say, no disciplinary action has been initiated.
The Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, is expected to table her report into the Vrede Dairy Project soon.
In 2013, the DA submitted a written question to the then Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, pertaining to a National Treasury investigation into the illegal multi-million Rand Letlaka Communications contract and the irregular and unlawful transversal agreements between the Office of the Premier and several provincial departments.
Minister Gordhan confirmed that the contracts must be cancelled and that Premier Magashule should bring criminal charges against named and implicated officials within his department. Premier Magashule has for more than two years denied that he has received this particular report, despite the fact that the DA forwarded to him a copy through the Legislature.
Premier Magashule has no intention to action on the recommendations made by National Treasury reports following investigations into extremely controversial activities initiated within his office costing the Free State hundreds of millions of Rands.
Premier Magashule’s continuous denial of ever receiving or being made aware of these reports are blatant lies in a desperate attempt to protect his most loyal cadres in the ANC.
Our assertion that Premier Magashule is using public resources to funnel millions into his patronage network to reward loyalty to him gains credence with each new report and investigation. Justice is patient and the day will come when Premier Magashule will have to account.
The DA will pursue all avenues to ensure that justice is done. The scourge of corruption has a direct negative impact on the lives of our people. Corruption denies people opportunities and hampers service delivery.