FS asbestos project: Current & former MECs among arrested suspects, says NPA

Some of these suspects were witnesses before the state capture commission this month.

Hawks members escort one of the seven suspects identified for arrest on 30 September 2020 in a case related to a R255m asbestos removal project in Free State. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has confirmed that suspects arrested in connection with the Free State asbestos project include current and former MECs.

While they can’t be named until they appear in court, Eyewitness News has confirmed that they include Blackhead director Edwin Sodi, Free State Housing HOD Nthimotse Mokhesi and ousted Mangaung mayor, Olly Mlamleli.

The Hawks have warned the remaining suspect who is on the run in KwaZulu-Natal to cooperate and avoid jeopardising the chance of bail.

Six of the seven suspects were arrested in connection with the R255 million Free State asbestos audit project.
Three were in the Free State, three in Gauteng and one is still at large in KwaZulu-Natal.

They will be formally named when they appear in court but the NPA’s Sipho Ngwema confirmed their positions.

“It includes former directors-general, heads of departments, people who were MECs and those people are now suspended executive mayors.”

A special proclamation by President Cyril Ramaphosa that gives the NPA and the Hawks access to testimony from the state capture commission appears to have fast-tracked the work of these law enforcement agencies as some of these suspects were witnesses before the commission this month.

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