Modise fingered in scandal

CHAIRWOMAN of the National Council of Provinces Thandi Modise allegedly used her political powers to pressurise a North West businessman to eject President Jacob Zuma's former lawyer.

Wycliffe Thipe Mothuloe and other attorneys were part of a housing project estimated at R5-billion.

Now Mothuloe is suing both the North West Housing Corporation (NWHC) and MEC for local government and housing for millions of rands for breach of agreement.

Mothuloe represented Zuma against several media houses for defamation of character.

Documents before the North West High Court in Mahikeng disclose that Kevin Lebogang Seriba's company, Microzone Projects, was appointed to administer and dispose of the entire NWHC rental portfolio across the province.

Microzone Projects in turn retained the services of Mothuloe as conveyancer for the entire project. However Modise, who was North West premier at the time, and ANC heavyweights in the NWHC, frustrated Mothuloe from obtaining the Power of Attorney.

Seriba said in his affidavit: "Whilst we were working on getting the Power of Attorney like that, and being quite anxious to proceed with the project, I had the most unexpected political inference surprise."

He alleged that one Sunday after a church service in 2008, Modise summoned him to her house where she instructed him to appoint Olckers Chopologe Koikanyang and remove Mothuloe.

But Seriba said he refused.

He said towards the end of the conversation, the discussion between him and Modise was toxic and "voices were raised".

"I then took my wife and left the premier's house, slightly unceremoniously," Seriba said in his affidavit.

Seriba said he was displeased that Modise abused her authority and virtually forced him to appoint Koikanyang and remove Mothuloe and other attorneys from the project. He said, afterwards, an official from the human settlements department called him to his office and when he arrived he "found a gentleman [Koikanyang] who I did not know from a bar of soap".

The official allegedly said: "Comrade you are a cadre of the ANC, and I have been instructed to tell you to go with this gentleman [Koikanyang] and appoint him on your project and remove the other people you have appointed.

The official allegedly said the instruction was "from above".

Seriba alleged Koikanyang proposed that if he was appointed and took over the entire project, he would look after him [Seriba].

In the affidavit, Seriba said he told Koikanyang that he was "not a small boy for you to think that you can trick me into your corrupt arrangement by enticing me with lollipops. I didn't come here to prostitute my business over stupid arrangements like that".

Approached for comment, Seriba said he was "prepared to say this in full view of Mme Thandi Modise".

Modise's spokesman Tsepiso Shuenyane said the matter was sub judice, "so in the interest of justice and out of respect for the independence of the judiciary . Modise would urge the Sowetan to allow due process and afford the courts the time and space to handle the matter".

Koikanyang said Seriba's allegations were baseless.