Magashule family contracts – Ramaphosa’s integrity at stake

I have written a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa requesting him to act regarding the allocation of Covid-19 tenders to the sons of ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule as part of his public commitment to act against malfeasance relating to Covid-19 contracts.

Two sons of the ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule received contracts to supply Covid-19 related products to the Free State Provincial Government. Motheko Projects, whose director is Tshepiso Magashule, provided liquid soap and masks to the value of R2.290.000.00 while Marvel Deeds, whose director is Thato Magashule, provided hand sanitizers to the value of R427.221.00.

While the Free State Provincial Government and Mr Magashule indicate that there is nothing wrong with the allocation of these contracts, the DA is of the opinion that Mr Magahsule holds extensive influence over officials who allocate tenders in the Free State.

The ANC continues to implement a policy of Democratic Centralism (Cadre Policy) that conflates the party and state regarding the employment of government officials through redeployment committees. As former Free State Provincial Secretary and current Secretary-General of the ANC, Ace Magashule is in a position to exert extensive influence over the deployment and continued employment of any senior officials and politicians in an ANC-run province such as the Free State.

The Magashule family have a poor track record regarding Free State tenders that include the following:

  • R300,000,000.00 grass cutting tenders in the Free State involved ME Construction owned by Ezekiel Magashule, a younger brother of Ace Magashule; Botlokwa Holdings owned by Thoko Malembe, the daughter of Ace Magashule; Juda in Zion Trading owned by Katleho Mochela, the daughter of Ngwathe (Parys) Mayor Joey Mochela and MDBS Trading, which is owned by Sibusiso and Duduza Ntombela, the sons of Premier Sisi Ntombela;
  • The daughter of Magashule, Thoko Alice Malembe, obtained property (with a filling station) worth R9,000,000.00 through Magashule’s alleged improper and unlawful influence with the Free State Development Corporation (FDC). There is video footage of a visit by Mr Magashule with employees of the FDC to the filling station before his daughters beneficiation. This filling station is now derelict and all former employees remain without employment;
  • At the Vogelfontein Housing Development in Dihlabeng Municipality, Thoko Malembe was allegedly a thirty percent partner in Unital Holdings, which was responsible for the development to the value of R150,000,000.00 and which is currently incomplete. It is alleged that Ace Magashule was directly involved in influencing the allocation of this lucrative contract.

The links between the Magashule and the controversial Gupta family are well known. The Gupta-linked Estina company is currently under investigation by various agencies regarding hundreds of millions of Rands irregularly spent on the Vrede Dairy Project. Such links include Magashule’s sons Tshepiso and Thato who both benefited from the Gupta’s largesse, with Tshepiso being employed and accommodated by the Guptas.

The above examples indicate that the latest allocation of lucrative government contracts to family members of Ace Magashule is not a once off occurrence. As former Premier of the Free State and current ANC Secretary-General, Magashule holds substantial influence over both politicians and senior government officials in the province.

The political integrity of President Ramaphosa will depend on his willingness to act against his most senior ANC party leader.

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