A company linked to Ace Magashule has reportedly secured contracts worth R1.47 billion for road projects in the Free State province.
Magashule has found himself in murky waters, once again. Sedtrade, a company linked to African National Congress (ANC) secretary general and former Free State premier Ace Magashule, has reportedly secured contracts worth R1.47 billion out of R3.3 billion allocated to infrastructure projects by the provincial department of police, roads and transport.
Sedtrade is based in Vereeniging and is owned by the wealthy Dockrat family, whose other businesses have also benefited millions of rands through projects in the Free State. Sedtrade is linked to the Magashule family through a close corporation called Tsefay Hardware, owned by Fayaaz Dockrat and Tshepiso Magashule. However, the Dockrats claim that Tsefay is a dormant company and has never traded.
The story was broken by amaBhungane, who obtained an official spreadsheet under the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA), which details the figures secured by Sedtrade and also shows the value of the completed and ongoing projects for the 2016/17 financial year, during which Magashule was still premier.
Out of the 36 provincial road contracts in the province, nine were secured by Sedtrade. This means that the company obtained 25 percent of the contracts, more than any other company. Most importantly, the company’s nine contracts amounted to 44.5 percent of the total projects’ costs.
Asked about these projects and the allocation of funds, the Free State department of police, roads and transport told amaBhungane it was “not aware of any favouritism that might have stemmed from personal or political relations as alleged”
“Due supply chain processes were followed to procure the services of the appointed service providers after they had initially been appointed as part of the panels of service providers. We also cannot express ourselves on the alleged political links and donations as we are unaware of such,” the department said.
Sedtrade’s chief executive Zaid Dockrat sang the department’s tune, saying that the contracts were awarded to the company because it had the highest broad-based black economic empowerment credentials and the highest level of construction grading competence. However, senior departmental sources, whose identities have been protected for fear of retaliation, claim that Sedtrade and its subsidiary Sedgars received the contracts because of political connections with Magashule.