The leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) John Steenhuisen has called on law enforcement agencies to widen the net and arrest all individuals, including senior politicians involved in corrupt activities.
The appeal comes after several suspects were arrested, including an ANC politician implicated in looting the government R255m housing project to replace hazardous asbestos roofs in the Free State in 2014, but abandoned it.
Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, spokesman for the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation (HAWKS), confirmed that the last suspect surrendered himself on Thursday afternoon in Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal.
“The arrested suspects are originally implicated in this case, which includes senior government officials, business people, and five companies. The defendants face more than 60 charges, including corruption, fraud and money laundering in violation of the Anti-Corruption act, and contravention of Public Financial Management act, “said Brigadier Mulaudzi.
He said the suspects were expected to appear at the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Friday, October 2, 2020.
“The true test of our fight against corruption will be whether the arrests and charges we have seen this week will go beyond the likes of former ANC MP Vincent Smith, former Mangaung Mayor and MEC Olly Mlamleli, and ANC-connected businessman Edwin Sodi, and will include all the high-ranking ANC individuals implicated in these scandals,” said Steenhuisen.
Steenhuisen said several senior ANC officials, notably ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule, were involved in the asbestos scandal, adding that news reports revealed that Sodi used the R255m contract only to have this ultimately subcontracted out for less than a tenth of the value, made several payments to the ANC, including to individuals such as Ministers Zizi Kodwa, Thulas Nxesi and Pinky Kekana.
“We cannot afford for ANC politicians to get away with receiving “gifts and loans” from their business cronies in exchange for R255m contracts for work that can be done for R20m. That is common theft and must be punished.
The only way to stop this rot is to cut it out entirely. That means charging, prosecuting and jailing everyone involved, even if this removes half the ruling party’s top structures,” said Steenhuisen.