By Roy Jankielsohn, Leader of the Official Opposition in the Free State Provincial Legislature:
It now appears that there is a deliberate attempt by Premier Ace Magashule and Finance MEC, Elzabe Rockman, to sweep corruption involving a multi-million Rand contract awarded illegally to Letlaka Media for printing and advertising, as well as illegal transversal contracts between the Office of the Premier and several provincial departments, under the carpet.
Premier Magashule has done his best to avoid accountability and has refused to properly answer questions surrounding the scandal in the Legislature.
Premier Magashule has always feigned ignorance of a report following a National Treasury investigation into the scandal despite the previous Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, confirming that the report was submitted to the Premier’s office.
The DA has also sent Premier Magashule a copy of the Treasury report on two occasions.
The National Finance Minister, Nhlanhla Nene, confirms in a written reply to a question submitted to him by our colleague in the NCOP, George Michalakis (MP), that a bilateral meeting between the then Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, and Premier Magashule, to discuss the report, took place on 08 October 2012.
Minister Nene in his reply also confirmed that no formal response has been received from Premier Magashule on the findings of the report and that the only correspondence was from the then Director-General in the Office of the Premier, Elzabe Rockman, refuting the validity of the report. In fact, Minister Nene states quite plainly that after Elzabe Rockman was deployed to serve as MEC for Finance on 11 March 2013, the investigations into the corruption scandal became complicated.
The Treasury report found that the contracts with Letlaka Media, as well as the transversal agreements, were illegal and irregular and that they were to be cancelled and that criminal charges be brought to implicated individuals.
It is only the DA that has initiated a process to investigate the alleged criminality by taking the matter to the Hawks and we have their confirmation that the matter is receiving attention.
It is now crystal clear that there is a deliberate attempt by Premier Magashule, with the involvement of Finance MEC Rockman, to avoid having to take action against implicated individuals and that for the last three years millions of taxpayer Rands have been funnelled through this illegal contract with Letlaka Media to fund the ANC’s patronage network in the Free State.
I will arrange a meeting with the Hawks investigation officer at the soonest opportunity to discuss the progress of their investigation.
The DA simply cannot allow for this blatant abuse of power and shameless corruption continue unabated.