Free State government withholding information from state capture inquiry – former MEC

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Deputy Chief Justice Raymond 'Ray' Zondo greets the commission before hearing testimony from Trevor Manuel and Siphiwe Nyanda, 28 February 2019. Photo: Karen Sandison / African News Agency (ANA)

Former Free State MEC Mxolisi Dukwana’s appearance at the state capture commission was postponed to April due to the Free State provincial government’s unwillingness to release information six months after commission chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo asked Premier Sisi Ntombela to do so.

Dukwana’s attorney Smanga Sithini pleaded with Zondo to instruct Ntombela and her officials to cooperate with the commission as agreed.

Sithini said: ”We have been constrained and unable to get some of the crucial information as promised by the Free State government. The information that was obtained was done through an application that was heard last year in October. Other than that Dukwana, upon our advice, had to go through his emails dating back to 2011 to get some of the crucial information that was found. The information on his official cell phone, travel records and others remain outstanding… we implore the chairperson to direct the Free State government to cooperate.”

Zondo said he spoke to Ntombela in October last year asking her to help facilitate the obtaining of information for Dukwana, and that the commission’s investigators and legal team would be ready a few days later to travel to Bloemfontein to assist Dukwana and his attorneys to obtain the information they need.

”I indicated to Premier Ntombela that that trip would either occur on the following Monday or Tuesday… I spoke to her on a Friday. She assured me that provincial government will cooperate fully and facilitate access to such information. I am surprised that Dukwana has since not obtained any from the provincial government six months later.”

Dukwana is a former economic development MEC under former premier Ace Magashule.

He indicated he was ready to testify at the commission on Magashule’s relationship with the Guptas and how the family was let loose and gobbled up Free State resources. Magashule is now the African National Congress’ (ANC) secretary-general.

Dukwana told City Press newspaper last year that he was offered a R2 million ”monthly fee” by the controversial Gupta family to sign off a contract for a ”New City” or ”City of Tomorrow” that was to be built at the Lejweleputswa District Municipality. The project was expected to take up to 10 years to complete, but has since failed to take off. Dukwana said he turned down the offer. Magashule fired him from the provincial cabinet in 2012.

Dukwana said the Guptas informed him that Magashule would not receive any cut from the city deal because he had numerous other government and private sector projects with the family that he was benefiting from.

Zondo requested the commission’s investigators and legal team to find a suitable date with Ntombela’s director-general to meet and ensure that the information requested was made available by the end of this week.

”If no concrete arrangement is made by the end of today, then I will meet with the investigators, the legal team, Dukwana, and his attorney to get a full report as to why no arrangement was made. I will then decide what to do from there.”

Dukwana’s evidence was moved to April 5.

The commission will this week hear more on Bosasa, now known as African Global Operations. Bosasa auditor Peet Venter is scheduled to testify on Tuesday, while former COO Angelo Agrizzi’s return day is yet to be confirmed.

African News Agency / The Citizen