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Former FS Housing MEC Zwane: I didn’t know Housing Act existed

Testifying before the state capture commission on Friday, Mosebenzi Zwane said it wasn’t his responsibility to ensure that officials knew about the Housing Act before spending R1.4 billion allocated for low-cost housing.

A screengrab of former Cabinet minister and former Free State Housing MEC Mosebenzi Zwane appearing at the state capture inquiry in Johannesburg on 25 September 2020. Picture: SABC/YouTube

JOHANNESBURG - Former Free State Housing MEC Mosebenzi Zwane said he didn’t know that the Housing Act existed, and he never read it.

But he said it wasn’t his responsibility to ensure that officials knew about it before spending the R1.4 billion allocated for low-cost housing.

He testified before the state capture commission on Friday.

DA member of the provincial legislature and leader of opposition Roy Jankielsohn has rebuked Zwane, saying he was hell-bent on dodging responsibility.

Zwane said it was not true that he ordered officials to abandon an open tender process for the billion rand low-cost housing project, adding that he never influenced the selection of suppliers.

He said he didn’t even know that a Housing Act existed.

“Surely it was not too much to ask of an MEC that comes into office that they take the responsibility and doesn’t leave it to anybody else to make sure that there is an awareness of all the laws that apply to this process to spend R1.4 billion,” said evidence leader advocate Paul Pretorius.

Zwane responded: “Under the the Public Finance Management Act there are functions that were given to me. This was not one of them. This was a function that was given to the accounting officer.”

Jankielsohn said Zwane went to the commission prepared to throw officials under the bus.

Next week Zwane is expected to testify on the controversial advance payment scheme that officials allege he personally devised.

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