Magashule saga: Hantsi Matseke denies DA's allegations of a property rental scandal

2019-04-05 16:47
The DA's Werner Horn and Patricia Kopane.

The DA's Werner Horn and Patricia Kopane. (Charles Smith)

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There is no truth to DA allegations that her company is involved in a corrupt deal involving the rental of a building in Bloemfontein to the Free State government, Hantsi Matseka, director of Mayula Procurement and Property Management, told Netwerk24.

Matseka was responding to the party's allegations that it had information about the alleged deal.

At a media conference on Monday, Free State DA leader Patricia Kopane said former Free State premier and current ANC secretary general Ace Magashule had been involved in a corrupt property rental scheme in which buildings were rented by the Free State government as offices.

"The [DA's] allegations are baseless, grossly defamatory, unlawful and are irreparably harming our clients' reputations," Matseka's lawyers wrote in a letter to Media24 and the DA.

The DA alleged that it had information about a scheme Magashule used during his tenure as Free State premier to manipulate rental agreements for state buildings "to the benefit of a few close friends and himself". 

Kopane said the rental agreements were signed by either Magashule himself, or by a member of his executive, which is a serious infringement of the Public Finance Management Act. In terms of the act, only a director-general or department head are authorised to sign provincial government contracts.

Favour payment

Kopane said the DA believed the alleged non-compliance with the act was in line with its accusation that Magashule ensured that he received a 10% "favour payment" of the value of all contracts awarded by the Free State government. 

The DA alleged that it had "clear information" that at least one such rental agreement was set up to enable a friend of Magashule to buy the building in question and to enable her to make improvements while it was not yet occupied by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure.

Kopane identified the building as the former Saambou building, located on the corner of Charlotte Maxeke Street and Aliwal Street in Bloemfontein. The building is owned by Mayula Procurement and Property Management. The director of the company is Hantsi Bhetilda Mayeza, or Matseke, who is also the chairperson of the Free State Development Corporation.

In terms of the rental contract, that Netwerk24 has seen, the Free State Department of Public Works signed the rental contract for the former Saambou building, located on the corner of Charlotte Maxeke Street and Aliwal Street in Bloemfontein, for R726 167.36 per month from February 1 last year.The DA also alleged that "improvements are still being completed and that the building would only be occupied by the department within a few months". The DA further said it had information that, during his last days in office as premier, Magashule allegedly insisted that his friend be awarded the rental contract.

Denying allegations

Matseke has denied the allegations. She said her company bought the building and that it was not a state-owned property, as Netwerk24 incorrectly reported earlier.

In the letter by her legal representative, Matseke says that the rental of the building was awarded to her and her company, Mayula Procurement, following a normal bidding process. They also deny that any rent has been paid by the department since the rental agreement was signed, as the building is unoccupied.

The department's final inspection of the property will take place later this month and it is foreseeable that the department will occupy the building soon thereafter, the letter stated. Rent will only be payable once the department occupies the building, Matseke's legal representative said.

Matseke also denied that the improvements to the building were being financed by the Free State government. "These costs are carried by Mayula," the lawyer's letter states. Matseke also denies that her company received any preferential treatment from Magashule. 

Werner Horn, head of the DA in the Free State, said the party stood by its statement. The information was obtained from a whistleblower who fears for his life because whistleblowers are not adequately protected, Horn said.

READ: Ace Magashule saga: Info about R80m cash in car boot handed to Zondo commission

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