Home South African FS dept to account for R255m asbestos tender at Zondo commission

FS dept to account for R255m asbestos tender at Zondo commission

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Last year the former economic development MEC fingered Ace Magashule as being behind the looting.

File image. Picture: Karen Sandison African News Agency(ANA)

THE CONTROVERSIAL R255 million asbestos tender involving the Free State human settlements department is set to come under scrutiny at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture on Tuesday as the director for supply chain management, John Matlakala, takes the stand.

Former Free State economic development MEC Mxolisi Dukwana testified before the commission on the asbestos project last year and accused ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule of being behind the looting of millions of rand through the project.

He also stated that there had been no actual removal of asbestos roofs despite the R255m having been paid.

The head of the commission’s legal team, Paul Pretorius, indicated that for most part of the week, the inquiry will hear evidence relating to the Free State government.

He said the commission’s investigators had already probed some of the allegations made by Dukwana regarding the project.

“Since then there has been an extensive investigation on the part of the commission and the fruits of that investigation are contained in the bundles now before you,” Pretorius told the commission chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

Documents relating to the project, statements of interviewed witnesses who were subject of investigation and the report of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane were among some of the documents the commission would be scrutinising.

“Because this investigation involves a range of issues, both broad and some of fine detail, the investigation team has prepared a comprehensive investigators’ report in which all the fruits of the investigation have been put and analysed,” he said.

The commission has also roped in asbestos expert Jacobus Roets, who will testify in relation to the project and its implementation.

“The reason he has been called is that this is more than an issue of procurement and state expenditure as well as the benefits of state expenditure. It is also an issue as to whether the Free State provincial government has carried out its constitutional duties in relation to the preservation of health and welfare of its inhabitants, particularly in relation to the prevalence of asbestos in low-cost housing,” Pretorius said.