- ANC secretary general Ace Magashule has been caught meddling in a housing project which ensured a company owned by his daughter received a R150 million contract
- Magashule is directly involved in ensuring a Chinese company called Unital received a tender to build 1 050 RDP houses near Bethlehem
- Unital’s shareholders are Jianliang Li and Thoko Malembe, who is Magashule’s daughter
African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general and outgoing Free State Premier Ace Magashule has been caught meddling in a Free State housing project to ensure a company partly owned by his daughter, Thoko Malembe, received a government contract worth R150 million.
Magashule is directly involved in ensuring a Chinese company called Unital received a tender to build 1 050 RDP houses near Bethlehem in the Free State.
His actions not only benefitted his own family, but also had a negative impact on some of the Free State’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens.
Briefly.co.za learned from News24.com that Unital’s shareholders are a mysterious Chinese South African businessman, Jianliang Li and Thoko Malembe, Magashule’s daughter.
News24.com’s investigation claims to show the following:
• Magashule and senior provincial officials interfered in a housing project near the eastern Free State town of Bethlehem. After the initial contractor was booted off the project, the provincial government appointed a company in which Magashule's daughter is a shareholder.
• The company, Unital Holdings, was appointed to build RDP houses without a tender process and has so far been paid nearly R70m by the provincial Department of Human Settlements.
• Magashule promised the locals that they would receive quality housing in a safe environment, but those living in the new houses say they are worse off than before. Their homes don't have electricity, water or working toilets, leaving them exposed to the hazards of pit toilets and open holes containing human waste.
Magashule has denied he had any hand in appointing Unital to build the RDP houses, he has not responded to whether he knew about his daughter owning shares in the company.
"The honourable premier is not at all involved in the awarding of tenders or any related processes. The honourable premier was therefore not involved in the appointment of the service provider with regards to the Bethlehem RDP project", his office said in a statement.
In 2012 Magashule promised residents of Selahliwe informal settlement near Bethlehem, he would build a brand new quality housing development nearby. At the time he said this would not be a ‘kasi’ township.
In 2013 Magashule and other MEC’s officially launched the Baken Park RDP project. Officials promised the project would include schools, community centres, recreational halls and other amenities.
Records show Unital received the first contract from the provincial government in November 2013. The first phase of the project included building 500 houses in Baken Park and was valued at R63.5 million.
Unital clinched the second contract for an additional 500 houses in August 2015, this time at a cost of R78 million. In April 2017 the company received the third contract for 50 houses at a cost of R9 million.
According to the Free State government it has thus far paid Unital R67.5 million for completing 568 houses.
Residents of the new houses say they are worse off than before. The houses were completed to a terrible standard, the roads leading to the new project have yet to be tarred and none of the houses have access to water or electricity.
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