Former Free State health MEC Benny Malakoane, who was embroiled in numerous scandals during his tenure, yesterday gave a detailed testimony on his relationship with slain businessperson Louis Siemens and murder-accused Stanley Bakili.
Siemens was shot and killed in the basement parking lot of Preller Square shopping complex on May 10, 2018.
Ten men have been arrested in connection with the murder, eight of whom are standing trial: Bakili, Mogoera Molebatsi, Kagiso Chabane, Mojalefa Jali Molusi, Moeketsi Lesia, Karabo Tau, Sizwe Mpati and Clive Tshivenga. They include three police officers, a disbarred advocate, an accused in separate double murder cases and a member of the Defence Force’s elite reconnaissance unit.
Malakoane’s name first came up during the testimony of the state’s first witness, local businessman Sello Matthews Rantso, 42, on Thursday last week.
He said Malakoane introduced him to Bakili in 2017, which led to him playing an advisory role in the Citymed Day Hospital’s application for hospital bed licenses. This application forms the background of the state’s case.
In the Free State High Court in Bloemfontein yesterday, Malakoane said he met with Bakili four times and that it was at the last meeting that he was introduced to Sello Matthews Rantso, who he asked to play the role of advisor to the board in the acquisition of hospital bed licences.
It is alleged that Siemens, then managing director of Citymed, paid about R6.5 million in bribes through Bakili to have the day hospital’s application granted.
One of the government officials alleged to have received bribes is former health and current Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. His alleged involvement stems from a moratorium on the awarding of contracts and appointments at the provincial health department from 2013 to September 2017.
Malakoane clarified that at no stage was he offered nor did he receive a bribe from either the deceased or Bakili.
He further stated that neither he, as the MEC of health, nor Motsoaledi would have been involved in Citymed’s application for hospital bed licenses.
– OFM News