Ace magashule

ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule.
Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi / African News Agency(ANA)

DA demand probe into awarding of COVID-19 tenders to Magashule’s sons

The two sons of ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule have secured lucrative COVID-19 contracts in the Free State, raising eyebrows.

Ace magashule

ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule.
Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi / African News Agency(ANA)

Following revelations that African National Congress (ANC) secretary general Ace Magashule’s sons, Tshepiso Magashule and Thato Magashule, have landed R2.7 million worth of COVID-19 procurement contracts in the Free State, the Democratic Alliance (DA) have called for President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene and stem nepotism related to the distribution of pandemic allocated funds. 

The two sons have been approved to supply COVID-19 related products to the Free State Provincial Government, but their father’s sordid reputation of corruption and association with the Gupta family has raised eyebrows. 

DA call for Ramaphosa to stem Magashule’s tender influence 

The DA’s leader in the Free State, Roy Jankielsohn, said in a statement released on Monday 3 August that Magashule’s notorious influence in the province demands a closer inspection of the legality of the tender approval. 

“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,” he said. 

“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 Magashule holds extensive influence over officials who allocate tenders in the Free State.”

Tshepiso Magashule, who is the director of Motheko Projects, provided liquid soap and masks to the value of R2 290 000, while Marvel Deeds, whose director is Thato Magashule, provided hand sanitisers to the value of R427 221.

Jankielsohn said that the ruling party is not going to budge when it comes to implementing a policy of “Democratic Centralism” 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,” he said. 

Magashule’s many misdeeds  

Jankielsohn then went on to catalogue the most concerning allegations and findings against Magashule during his time as Premier of the Free State, and it’s easy to see why there’s room for concern.

He said that the Magashule family have been implicated in the following dodgy deals relating to cronyism and nepotism:

  • R300 million grass cutting tenders in the Free State involved ME Construction, which is 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 million 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 million and which is currently incomplete. It is alleged that Ace Magashule was directly involved in influencing the allocation of this lucrative contract.

He also reminded South Africans and Ramaphosa that Magashule, who is the subject of journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s 2018 expose Gangster State, is deeply entrenched in the dealings of the Gupta family, who are implicated in allegations of mass state capture. 

“The links between the Magashule and the controversial Gupta family are well known,” said Janielsohn. “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.”

‘Ramaphosa’s integrity on the line’ – DA 

Ultimately, the DA want Ramaphosa to shut down the Secretary General’s ability to allocate COVID-19 tenders, and said that his influence has led to disturbing conflicts of interest on various occasions. 

“The above examples indicate that the latest allocation of lucrative government contracts to family members of Ace Magashule is not a once off occurrence,” he said. 

“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.”

He warned that should Ramaphsa not act against his ANC Top Six comrade, his reputation and integrity will suffer the consequences of yet another potential scandal. 

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