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CityPress - - News - SIZWE YENDE sizwe.yende@city­press.co.za

con­tro­ver­sial for­mer Mpumalanga MEC has been given an exit set­tle­ment be­lieved to be in the re­gion of R5 mil­lion af­ter ef­forts to link him to the theft of rhino horns worth R116 mil­lion came to naught.

Jac­ques Modi­pane, who had three years re­main­ing on his con­tract, will leave qui­etly as Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) chief ex­ec­u­tive af­ter both par­ties reached a set­tle­ment.

The horns were stolen from a store­room at the tourism agency’s of­fices on April 20 last year.

Although there were at­tempts to point fin­gers at him, Modi­pane was never linked to the theft.

The Hawks ar­rested Gideon Mt­shali (51), Leonard Sizwe Malatjie (34), Velly Wil­liam Zwane (43) and Selby Ge­orge Khoza (39), who are be­ing tried in the Nel­spruit Re­gional Court for bur­glary and theft.

But he was in­structed to re­turn to work on De­cem­ber 3 and when he re­fused be­cause he had al­ready signed an ear­lier exit pack­age, he was ac­cused in­ter­nally of the horn theft. Ir­reg­u­lar ex­pen­di­ture charges were also lev­elled against him. He is now of­fi­cially leav­ing the agency. Wil­liam Lu­bisi, chair­man of the tourism agency’s board, said: “The agree­ment is that we part ways and we will not dis­close the de­tails.”

Modi­pane also de­clined to ex­plain and could only say that the MTPA ap­proached him for the sec­ond time to set­tle the mat­ter out of court and he agreed.

“They ap­proached me for a set­tle­ment. I had taken them to the labour court to ex­plain the al­le­ga­tions they lev­elled against me. Maybe they thought they could walk over me. I think ev­ery­thing is gone with that case, that agree­ment,” he said.

Although Modi­pane and Lu­bisi were re­luc­tant to give de­tails of the exit pack­age, City Press un­der­stands from sources that it is about R5 mil­lion.

In an in­ter­view last year, Modi­pane claimed his

PHOTO: ADELE DU TOIT

EXIT PACK­AGE Jac­ques Modi­pane also had to re­sign as Mpumalanga fi­nance MEC in for­mer premier Mathews Phosa’s cab­i­net in 1998

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