Two FS MECs in court on corruption charges


Sabrina Dean

Two Free State MECs will appear in the Bloemfontein Regional Court on corruption charges later this month.
Health MEC Benny Malakoane and new Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation MEC Mathabo Leeto joined six other co-accused in the dock at the Welkom Regional Court for a brief appearance on Friday.
The state requested that the case be transferred to Bloemfontein and following a brief consultation with various legal representatives, the magistrate agreed to transfer it to the Bloemfontein Regional Court, postponing it to 27 August.
The eight accused face charges relating to alleged kickbacks to the tune of some R13 million for irregularly awarded contracts involving three companies, namely Gestetner, Quit Cell and Pole Adds.
The charges relate to the period between 2007 and 2010 when Malakoane was Matjhabeng municipal manager and Leeto served as Lejweleputswa district mayor. Among the accused are three company directors, Matjhabeng CFO Louis de Bruin and Malakoane’s former PA, Leona Nel.
Malakoane handed himself over to the Hawks in July last year. All of the accused are currently out on bail.
The two MECs will meanwhile remain in their posts. Free State Government spokesperson Mondli Mvambi says neither Malakoane nor Leeto was charged in terms of their capacity as MECs. He adds that it is also not right to predetermine the outcome of the court case.
"They remain in their positions and they remain innocent unless proven otherwise," he says.