Former MEC gets five years for corruption

Waghied Misbach and Sapa

Waghied Misbach and Sapa

Former Western Cape MEC David Malatsi was yesterday sentenced to five years in jail for his role in a corrupt land deal.

He has been given leave to appeal.

Malatsi was found guilty of accepting a bribe from Italian count and property developer Riccardo Agusta to approve the development of a piece of land in Roodefontein, near Plettenberg Bay in the southern Cape.

Malatsi approved the project.

He is said to have collected a cheque for R100000 at Agusta's farm in Franschoek.

Agusta allegedly asked Malatsi to intercede on behalf of Vito Palazzolo, who was being investigated by the Scorpions in connection with alleged links to organised crime.

Malatsi's trial started in 2003 and evidence from 40 witnesses was heard. Testimony centred on donations amounting to R400000 made by Agusta to the New National Party (NNP).

Malatsi's fate is in stark contrast to that of his NNP colleague, Peter Marais.

Marais is a former mayor of Cape Town and a former Western Cape premier.

The court found that though Marais received a R300000 donation to the NNP from Agusta, there was no proof that he approved the property development as a return favour.