One SA Movement leader Mmusi Maimane has weighed in on an allegedly corrupt R255m asbestos audit project in the Free State, which saw the arrest of seven suspects and five companies charged with fraud last week.
TimesLIVE reported that the seven suspects, including former Mangaung mayor Sarah ‘Olly’ Mlamleli and businessman Edwin Sodi, appeared in the Free State High Court on Friday after being accused of corruption and money laundering linked to a multimillion-rand tender deal.
The accused, who face around 60 charges, are alleged to have been fraudulently awarded a R255m contract to audit and remove asbestos roofs in the province.
Their assets, worth about R300m, were seized by the National Prosecuting Authority’s Asset Forfeiture Unit.
The authority’s spokesperson, Sipho Ngwema, told TimesLIVE that though the group was alleged to have taken R255m, the state was aiming to get back about R300m.
All seven of the accused were granted bail, and their case was postponed to November 11.
On social media, Maimane compared the asbestos tender saga to the scandal around personal protective equipment tenders, which saw Gauteng health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku and presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko take a leave of absence while the investigation into the scandal takes place.
Maimane said those allegedly implicated in the scandal were “complicit in robbing citizens”.
“If we are to deal decisively with corruption, we have to deal with the entire tripod that holds it,” he said.
He said citizens were the ones who lose their lives at the hands of a “corrupt and incompetent government”.
“We need change, change of system, and a change of government,” said Maimane.
He also shared a Sunday Times graphic, Web of patronage, saying there’s “no such thing as a free lunch”.