South Africa

South Africa

Busisiwe Mkhwebane accuses Ace Magashule of improper conduct

Illustrative image | sources: ANC Secretary General, Ace Magashule (Photo: Gallo Images / Phill Magakoe and 2019 Tiso Blackstar Group / Sandile Ndlovu)
By Reuters
21 Dec 2020 12

Ace Magashule, did not properly oversee a public-private dairy farm project and his actions amounted to maladministration and improper conduct, public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane said on Monday.

More than R220-million of public money invested in the Estina Diary project to support poor farmers in the central province of Free State was siphoned off, including to accounts linked to the influential Gupta family, which had close links with politicians under former South Africa president Jacob Zuma, a report by the public protector has found. The Guptas have previously denied wrongdoing.

Magashule, who was premier of Free State at the time and is now secretary general of the African National Congress (ANC), has faced a number of serious allegations and corruption charges for conduct during his tenure.

On Monday Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane said she had concluded that individuals linked to the Guptas had “undue influence” on politicians and the project.

Magashule and some of his colleagues had failed to execute their oversight responsibilities properly even after being notified of irregularities, and this amounted to “maladministration and improper conduct”, she said.

Magashule’s lawyer did not respond immediately to a message seeking comment.

Mkhwebane recommended that Magashule and several other members of Free State’s executive authority be given training on their accountability and oversight responsibilities and for her report to be taken into account by prosecutors conducting a criminal investigation into the project.

Mkhwebane herself has faced criticism in some quarters. A series of court judgments have overturned some of her previous findings and she has also been accused of targeting allies of President Cyril Ramaphosa on behalf of an opposing ANC faction, which she denies.

Magashule is from a group that has at times appeared at odds with Ramaphosa since he replaced Zuma in February 2018. DM

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All Comments 12

  • This is rather like Bill Barr resigning 4 weeks before he is out of a job anyway in a bid to have the Public forget how he facilitated Trump’s abuse of power.

  • A rather belated attempt to ‘correct’ the litany of bungling and inept actions of the PP ! Imagine advising on ‘training’ in “accountability and oversight” NOW – you must be joking ! Jail is the only option for this kind of grand corruption….including that of the PP ! Kaye’s observation is spot on .

  • Hahaha, talk about a euphemism if ever there was one. Improper conduct she calls that. What about theft on a grand scale would be much closer to the truth. What is this woman trying to do; make it “sort of right” but don’t give in to the truth?

    • In her defence, that is the term used in the section of the Act setting out what she is entitled to investigate. The terms we would all like to use – to describe both the perpetrators of corruption as well as their conduct – are probably not permitted to be included in legislation (or any public document for that matter) …

      • I know that, but hers is such a pathetic attempt to try and save herself that I just need to say what goes for what. It’s sort of funny or rather tragic that everybody is convinced that he is the biggest crook, but you are not allowed to say so unless you’ve gone through the proper channels. For his defense he is now allowed to use the stolen money (still needs to be proven, haha) to defend himself. How crooked is that?

        • As frustrating as it is for everyone who wants swift justice to be meted out to every person who has been implicated in corruption, the various law enforcement bodies will have to ensure that the proper process is followed during the investigations and subsequent criminal proceedings. That includes staying strictly within the confines of any empowering legislation (and utilising the correct terminology, as trivial as that sounds). There will be a litany of technical and procedural defences being put forward by those facing corruption charges. We can expect that, notwithstanding that maladministration and blatant disregard of legal requirements and proper procedure are what got them into trouble in the first place, a significant number of those accused of corruption are all of a sudden going to become pedants and aspiring champions of strict adherence of rules and regulations.

  • This is nothing but a devious and sinister move to exonerate Magashule and influence the outcome of his trial. It amounts to a rap on the knuckles when in reality, he is heavily involved in theft and corruption. Why now when she whitewashed the original report? Didn’t even mention him or Zwane. This woman is evil and poison, just like Magashule and all the wicked cronies around him and Zuma.

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