ANC heavyweights case: 400m² for just two staffers

Kimberley - Work to make a Trifecta-owned building ready for government office work in Springbok was left incomplete for 10 months despite payment having been made, the Northern Cape High Court heard on Thursday.

The lease agreement for the building in Springbok had preconditions such as the provision of 60 parking bays, air conditioning, an alarm system, and provision of facilities to accommodate disabled people, PWC forensic auditor Trevor White told the court.

Ten months after the lease came into effect the department inspected the building and found no lock-up parking, no shade parking, no disability facilities, or alarm system.

"All matters were still outstanding," White said, adding that the situation affected staff morale.

Judge Mathebe Phatshoane is hearing evidence in a fraud, corruption, and money laundering case against Northern Cape ANC heavyweights John Block, Alvin Botes, Yolanda Botha, and Trifecta director Christo Scholtz.

"The state was short-changed," White said.

The National Prosecuting Authority alleges the Trifecta Group entered into a number of lease agreements with the Northern Cape social development department in which rentals, or rental space, were grossly inflated. The accused pleaded not guilty on all the counts.

White testified the department was looking at cancelling the lease with Trifecta for the Springbok building.

The court heard that ANC MP Botha, who was head of the social development department at the time, apparently asked the relevant official on whose authority he wrote the official letter informing Trifecta of the likely cancellation.

White said evidence indicated Botha wanted the official to withdraw the letter. The state would have lost more than R7.7m in the Springbok lease case.

200m² per employee

White also testified about the lease agreement for the Summerdown Place building in Kuruman, where the social development department was looking for 55 offices and parking space. The forensic investigation found the state paid for, among others, parking bays that did not exist.

The loss to the state in that agreement was more than R7m, White said.

The lease of Trifecta's Keur en Geur building in Douglas was also investigated. In that case the department wanted around 205m² to accommodate nine offices.

The department, however, got 400m² for two government employees. The harm to the state in that case was projected at over R1.1m.

White testified about a further estimated loss to taxpayers of more than R11.3m. This related to a lease agreement between the department and Trifecta for floors in the Du Toitspan building in Kimberley.

The trial continues.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Zama zama crackdown: What are your thoughts on West Village residents taking the law into their own hands?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Authorities should bring in the army already
10% - 1684 votes
Illegal miners can't be scapegoated for all crime
52% - 8617 votes
What else did we expect without no proper policing
35% - 5730 votes
Vigilante groups are also part of the problem
3% - 549 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
16.19
+0.4%
Rand - Pound
19.64
-0.0%
Rand - Euro
16.62
-0.1%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.52
+0.0%
Rand - Yen
0.12
-0.1%
Gold
1,802.29
0.0%
Silver
20.82
0.0%
Palladium
2,227.50
0.0%
Platinum
966.00
0.0%
Brent Crude
98.15
-1.5%
Top 40
63,996
-1.0%
All Share
70,731
-0.8%
Resource 10
64,048
-2.8%
Industrial 25
86,577
-0.6%
Financial 15
16,059
+0.6%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE