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FS asbestos deal arrests a watershed moment for SA, says Gangster State author

30 September 2020 7:06 PM
Tags:
State Capture
Corruption
The Money Show
Ace Magashule
Bruce Whitfield
ENSafrica
Steven Powell
Pieter-Louis Myburgh
Zondo commission of inquiry
Zondo
Free State asbestos contract
asbestos audit scandal

Investigative journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh and forensic lawyer Steven Powell comment on the Hawks' corruption crackdown.

The Hawks made a number of high-profile arrests on Wednesday in connection with the R255 million Free State audit scandal.

The deal has been under scrutiny at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.

RELATED: Hawks pounce on Edwin Sodi over Ace Magashule-linked asbestos deal

Among those implicated in defrauding the Free State government is ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule, the premier of the province at the time.

"The high-profile arrests of several key figures in a contentious R255m asbestos audit deal may be the clearest signal yet that South Africa’s age of impunity is well and truly over" writes Daily Maverick investigative journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh.

Hawks arrest one of seven on 30 September 2020 in connection with the R255 million Free State asbestos project. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

Myburgh's the author of two books on state capture, including Gangster State: Unraveling Ace Magashule's Web of Capture.

Bruce Whitfield asks Myburgh, who's been threatened over his revelations about corruption in the Free State, if he feels vindicated by the Hawks' crackdown.

Yes, one way or another the matter is going to end up in court, thankfully.

Pieter-Louis Myburgh, Investigative journalist and author of 'Gangster State'

I think it's massively important... There's been this expectation for the last couple of years now on behalf of the public that the Zondo Commission, which essentially is a very expensive exercise, there had to be some payoff in the form of arrests.

Pieter-Louis Myburgh, Investigative journalist and author of 'Gangster State'

Definitely a bit of a watershed moment in terms of the Zondo Commission too. It would certainly classify as the first high-profile arrests emanating from matters that have been laid out before Justice Raymond Zondo.

Pieter-Louis Myburgh, Investigative journalist and author of 'Gangster State'

Myburgh says he's aware of a sense of letdown because many people would have liked to see Ace Magushule included in Wednesday's arrests.

However, given our history of the last ten years with government corruption routinely not leading to prosecutions, it's a big deal that senior government officials were in fact caught in the Hawks' net.

This being a matter that played out in the Free State and we know that Mr Magashule in the guise of premier was involved in this process, there's obviously an expectation that at some point he would also have to be brought to book on this matter.

Pieter-Louis Myburgh, Investigative journalist and author of 'Gangster State'

I think we should definitely expect the likes of Mr Magashule to at least be nervous. It's going to be an ongoing investigation.

Pieter-Louis Myburgh, Investigative journalist and author of 'Gangster State'

So what happens next?

Whitfield speaks to forensic lawyer and anti-corruption compliance expert Steven Powell (Director of law firm ENSafrica).

Powell agrees with Myburgh that the latest development can be seen as a watershed moment.

It is a watershed moment that we are starting to see the transition, the translation of the evidence that has been laid before the Zondo Commission now being put into action and resulting in some concrete steps.

Steven Powell, Director - ENSafrica

What we also have to remember is that the NPA [National Prosecuting Authority] in the last number of years has been rebuilt and recapacitated, and I think a lot of the mischief that happened in the near-decade of the country being run by the Zuma group - we're going to see prosecutions unfolding.

Steven Powell, Director - ENSafrica

Listen to the fascinating discussion in the audio below:


30 September 2020 7:06 PM
Tags:
State Capture
Corruption
The Money Show
Ace Magashule
Bruce Whitfield
ENSafrica
Steven Powell
Pieter-Louis Myburgh
Zondo commission of inquiry
Zondo
Free State asbestos contract
asbestos audit scandal

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