Ace Magashule, the African National Congress secretary general and outgoing Free State premier, has been caught meddling in a housing project to ensure that a company partly owned by his daughter scored contracts worth R150m from his provincial government.
News24 can today reveal perhaps the most damning details to date of Magashule’s direct involvement in government contracts that benefit his own family to the detriment of his province’s poorest and most marginalised citizens.
Our investigation shows:
- Magashule and senior provincial officials interfered in a housing project near the eastern Free State town of Bethlehem. After the initial contractor was booted off the project, the provincial government appointed a company in which Magashule’s daughter is a shareholder.
- The company, Unital Holdings, was appointed to build RDP houses without a tender process and has so far been paid nearly R70m by the provincial Department of Human Settlements.
- Magashule promised locals that they would receive quality housing in a safe environment, but those living in the new houses say they are worse off than before. Their homes don’t have electricity, water or working toilets, leaving them exposed to the hazards of pit toilets and open holes containing human waste.
The saga involves Magashule’s direct involvement in the appointment of a “Chinese” company called Unital Holdings to construct 1 050 RDP houses on a plot of land to the north of Bethlehem.
News24 was able to determine that Unital’s shareholders are Jianliang Li, a mysterious Chinese South African businessman who seems to have disappeared, and Thoko Malembe, Magashule’s daughter. We revealed in January that Malembe was reunited with the premier in 2011 and subsequently scored R9m in a dubious property deal with the Free State Development Corporation (FDC).