The DA welcomes the guilty verdict handed down by the Free State Division of the High Court on Premier Ace Magashule’s close pal, Mr Isaac ‘Blacky’ Seoe.

The guilty verdict relates to a charge of fraud in a R30 million education tender in which his company, Mabolela Distributers, was awarded a stake. Mr Seoe failed to disclose his relationship with the then Director-General of the Free State Provincial Department of Education, Tebogo Lioma, at whose house his daughter stayed. Evidence showed that hundreds of calls were made between them before, during and after the tender process.

Premier Magashule and Mr Seoe were once business partners. In 2011, Sambal Investment, in which both were company directors, secured a government lease deal for the Free State Provincial Department of Sports, Arts and Culture at Business Partners Business Building in the Bloemfontein CBD to the value of R115 million. Tshepiso Magashule, the son of Premier Ace Magashule, have also been business partners previously.

Mr Seoe formerly served as the Chairperson of the Free State Development Corporation (FDC) and is implicated in the 2014 property scandal involving Premier Magashule’s daughter, Thoko Malembe, in the acquisition of a petrol station in Phuthaditjhaba.

The central theme running through this corrupt network is Premier Ace Magashule.

Currently, Economic Development MEC, Benny Malakoane, and Sports, Arts and Culture MEC, Mathabo Leeto, are both on trial for corruption involving multi-million rand tenders awarded during their respective tenures at the Matjhabeng Local Municipality.

And lastly, the HOD for the Free State Provincial Department of Economic Development and Agriculture, Peter Thabete, is on trial alongside several others for the corrupt Vrede Dairy Project Scandal.

The DA is encouraged that the long arm of the law is slowly, but surely, closing in around Premier Magashule, who has lorded over an intricate corrupt patronage network in the Free State, looting hundreds of millions from the provincial fiscus.

It is only a matter of time before Premier Magashule finds himself in the dock.