Free State’s ‘missing’ MEC

2014-07-27 15:00

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Free State health MEC Benny Malakoane could face another criminal charge after failing to appear in court on Monday, saying he was going to the International Aids Conference in Melbourne.

But then his office called a news conference, revealing he might be have been in the country after all.

Malakoane told the court, where he is charged with polluting water sources in Odendaalsrus in the Free State, that he could not attend on Monday and filed a letter explaining why. It was signed by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Free State Premier Ace Magashule.

But after local newspaper Volksblad reported on Malakoane’s absence, it received an invitation to a news conference in Bloemfontein on Thursday, saying that he would address the media over an incident at the Pelonomi Hospital where large quantities of unused medical supplies in storage were seized.

The newspaper claims that a photograph taken at the news conference proves that Malakoane was in town, but no one who told Volksblad that he was there was willing to sign affidavits.

Advocate Antoinette Ferreira, prosecutor for the Green Scorpions, said the unit would investigate and possibly charge Malakoane with defeating the ends of justice.

Malakoane’s lawyer Kenosi Moroka said he was under the impression that Malakoane was in Australia when the letter excusing him was presented to the court on Monday.

“However, there is a good reason he couldn’t get his visa. This reason will be presented to court.

“We can unfortunately not reveal that to the media yet,” he said.

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