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Zondo hears of irregular expenditure in Gauteng, FS asbestos eradication project

Evidence leader Advocate Paul Pretorius on Tuesday said that hundreds of millions of rand were spent to assess and eradicate asbestos housing in Gauteng and the Free State.

FILE: Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The state capture commission of inquiry on Tuesday was expected to hear how African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general and former Free State premier, Ace Magashule, was implicated in an irregular expenditure of an asbestos eradication project.

The commission was expected to hear testimony from the province’s director of supply chain management in the Department of Human Settlements, John Matlakala, but he was a no show.

Evidence leader Advocate Paul Pretorius said hundreds of millions of rand were spent to assess and eradicate asbestos housing in Gauteng and the Free State.

Pretorius said that in Gauteng, a company called Blackhead Consulting charged R650 per house for assessment and removal of asbestos.

He said that another company in the province was paid R230 million and made a profit of R100 million, while other companies’ profits ranged between 50% and 60%.

Tuesday’s testimony was expected to show how a contract from Gauteng was transferred to the Free State with no competitive bidding for R255 million.

And a joint venture between Blackhead and another company, Diamond Hill Consulting, was formed. It was made possible by the late businessman Igo Mpambani, who was shot dead in Sandton in 2017.

Mpambani had no knowledge of asbestos but was paid 50% for unlocking the contract, which increased the cost of the work in that province to R850 per house for 36,000 houses.

Investigators found books showing that amounts ranging from R1 million to R10 million were paid to people mentioned by initials including “AM”, whose alleged to be Magashule.

The commission was supposed to hear from Matlakala but he didn’t arrive, and environmental health expert Jacobus Roets took the stand to testify.

_WATCH: State capture commission proceedings _

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