Magashule's former secretary allegedly scored R100m for CCTV cameras that don't work

Ace Magashule (File, Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)
Ace Magashule (File, Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)

A company belonging to the former secretary of ANC secretary general Ace Magashule has earned more than R100m for, among other things, providing CCTV cameras to the Mangaung metro – most of which allegedly don't work or have never worked.

Netwerk24 reported on Wednesday that a Bloemfontein-based attorney, who wishes to remain anonymous, made these and other allegations.

Deena Pillay, CEO of TAD Consultancy Services, reportedly said his company's supplier contract for the cameras and access control in Mangaung expired on December 31, 2016, while the maintenance contract for the cameras expired in June last year. It was not clear whether these contracts were going to be renewed.

According to Mail and Guardian, Pillay was Magashule's secretary when the latter was the Free State MEC for sport, arts, culture and recreation.

Pillay had reportedly clinched several provincial state contracts worth just over R200m between 2009 and 2011, and was described as one of the most successful businessmen in Bloemfontein.

Pillay, reportedly described as an "ANC comrade", managed Magashule's office in the mid-1990s before branching out into business. But it appears that he was not particularly successful before Magashule's elevation to premier in mid-2009, according to Mail & Guardian.

Pillay's most successful companies are reportedly owned and directed by his wife, Ravatha, who is the sole shareholder and director of TAD Consultancy Services and Bombenero Investments. Both these companies deal mainly with Free State government departments and municipalities.

CCTV footage cannot be used in court

The anonymous attorney told Netwerk24 that footage from the CCTV cameras could not be used in court.

"I wanted to use stills from one of these cameras, on the corner in front of the Urban Hotel, for a court case about a vehicle accident," the attorney told Netwerk24.

"When I approached the metro, I learnt that the cameras have never worked," he reportedly said.

Investigations into the murder of Seipati Lechoano – a Mangaung metro employee – in December last year, have reportedly been thwarted because the CCTV camera was out of order outside the Bram Fischer building where her decomposed body was found in the boot of her car.

'Magashule not responsible for tenders'

Qondile Khedama, the metro's communications manager, told Netwerk24 the metro had 235 CCTV cameras, 18 of which are at the Bram Fischer building. He reportedly denied allegations that the metro paid R2m per month for cameras that don't work, as the contract with the service provider had expired and that a new service provider would assume its duties next week.

While he reportedly acknowledged that some cameras had "lost visuals", the cameras would be serviced.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe told Netwerk24 that Magashule was not responsible for municipal tenders.

In April, amaBhungane reported that Sedtrade, a company linked to Magashule, scored nearly R1.47bn worth of contracts out of R3.3bn allocated to infrastructure projects by the provincial Department of Police, Roads and Transport.

Sedtrade is a Vereeniging-based company owned by the wealthy Dockrat family, whose other businesses have also benefitted to the tune of millions from projects in the Free State.

The provincial police, roads and transport department has been under the media spotlight since 2017, after allegations emerged that tenders were used as cash cows for companies associated with Magashule or his close ally, the late head of department, Sandile Msibi.

Magashule in business with Tony Gupta

Also in April, News24's Kyle Cowan reported that, between 2006 and 2009, Magashule was a business partner of Rajesh "Tony" Gupta – and records in the so-called "Gupta leaks" show around R100 000 was paid from Gupta-owned Sahara Systems to their company.

One payment reference was captured in accounting records as "Mr Ace".

Magashule and Gupta's shared directorship of a mysterious company named Moetapele Projects has provided the first documentary evidence giving reliable clues to the origins of Magashule's relationship with the controversial Gupta family.

Magashule and Gupta were appointed directors on August 4, 2006. Magashule resigned on 10 September 2009 – a few months after he was first appointed as Free State premier by former president Jacob Zuma.

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