State capture inquiry testimony of Magashule’s former staffer postponed

ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule, 30 July 2019. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi / African News Agency (ANA)

According to previous testimony, the former staffer had acted on behalf of the former premier to source funds from a late businessman who had scored a tender in the province.

The testimony of former Free State premier Ace Magashule’s then staffer, Moroadi Cholota, at the commission of inquiry into state capture has been postponed until Friday.

This was to allow Cholota time to finalise her statement to be submitted to the commission’s legal team, said the inquiry’s chair, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

Zondo advised Cholota’s legal representative to consult with the commission’s legal team on which matters should be covered in the statement.

Finalising the statement will continue immediately after the adjournment of proceedings on Wednesday.

Zondo requested that he should be given a copy of the final statement once the commission’s legal team has obtained it.

Cholota’s name was mentioned at the commission during the testimony of the former Free State economic development MEC, Mxolisi Dukwana.

Dukwana was at the time giving testimony on an asbestos project in the province which he alleged was used by the office of the former premier of the Free State, Magashule, as a source for funds.

It was alleged that Magashule’s office at the time had made numerous “onerous requests” to a late Welkom businessman, Phikolomzi Ignatius “Igo” Mpambani, for payments of money for different purposes, adding that with the money, the former premier became a “blesser” to many.

Dukwana said Mpambani acceded to these requests by effecting payments using money allegedly gained “fraudulently” through a contract his company scored from the Free State department of human settlements without it being put to tender.

Dukwana told Zondo that the key characters in these “onerous requests” and subsequent positive responses were Mpambani, and two officials at Magashule’s office, namely Ipeleng Morake and Cholota, who acted on behalf of the former premier.

He also testified that each time Mpambani’s company received money from the Free State housing department, Morake and Cholota would inform the former premier.

Dukwana said Mpambani was in constant communication with Cholota, who, on behalf of Magashule, made the requests for money that no business could have sustained.

Dukwana told the commission that it had been Cholota who forwarded a request to the office of the then-premier to settle university fees to Mpambani, requesting that the businessman pay the fees.

Mpambani, who was fatally gunned down on June 2017 in a mafia-style shooting in Sandton, scored a R255-million contract with the department on December 2014, Dukwana told the commission.

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