Free State HOD, officials among those charged for looting Winnie Mandela Museum funds | News24


A house in Brandfort, Free State where ANC veteran Winnie Madikizela-Mandela stayed after she was banished to the Free State in 1977. The Free State provincial government announced last year that it would convert the house into a museum to honour her, but they have failed to do so. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sowetan / Mabuti Kali)

  • The former head of the Free State sports, arts and culture department was among those in court for fraud and corruption.
  • The charges against the group relate to a contract awarded unlawfully for the development of the Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Museum.
  • They were all granted bail.

The former head of the Free State sports, arts and culture department, Tsoarelo Malakoane, and other former municipal officials appeared in court on Wednesday with regard to a contract awarded unlawfully for the development of the Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Museum in Brandfort.

They are alleged to have siphoned more than R700 000 allocated to the museum by the department between January 2008 and December 2010.

Malakoane, 56, Monyane Sefatsi, 53, Eunice Aaron, 55, Lodewikus Celliers, 80, Lebogang Sebeela, 47, Georgia Thubane, 47, as well as two companies – Architect in Amalgamation and Architect Celliers Greyvenstein Close Corporation, face a total of 20 charges.

The charges include fraud, corruption, money laundering, contravention of the Public Finance Management Act, and contravention of the Municipal Management Act. 

Malakoane is currently the HOD of the Free State Department of Education.

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The State alleges that, on 20 and 21 July 2008, the Free State sports, arts and culture department, the Lejweleputswa district municipality and the Masilonyane local municipality signed an agreement for the development of the museum.

The Lejweleputswa municipality was appointed as the implementing agent and the department was responsible for making the money available.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson, Phaladi Shuping, said Malakoane and Sebeela, as the HOD and supply chain director, respectively, allegedly authorised for the money to be paid to Lejweleputsa.

Sefatsi, as the municipal manager of Lejweleputswa, is accused of paying around R500 000 to Architect Amalgamation, without following the proper procurement process.

Architect Amalgamation was not registered with the South African Council for the Architectural Profession at the time the contract was awarded.

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“Sefatsi later left the municipality and was replaced by Aaron as the municipal manager. Aaron paid around R204 000 to Architect Celliers Greyvenstein Closed Corporation, despite knowing that the municipality did not have a lawful contract with the company.

“As a result, R704 000 was paid to the two companies, without a lawful contract, and the companies also did not render any service for the money that was paid to them,” Shuping said.

Aaron was granted bail of R3 000, Celliers R10 000 bail, and Sefatsi, Thubane, Sebeela and Malakoane were each granted bail of R20 000. 

The case was postponed to 11 November 2022.

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