The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the harsh 15 year sentence handed down by the High Court in Bloemfontein today by Judge Soma Naidoo against the Pierneef painting plunderer, Ricardo Mettler.
The judgment is a stern warning to people in government, particularly those in positions of power, that they will in future be detected, convicted and punished for their crimes. The arrogance displayed by Mettler in court and his continuous silence regarding his political head at the time, former Free State Premier Ace Magashule’s possible involvement in this theft contributed to his harsh sentence. The courts have clearly indicated that there is no benefit for individuals who remain silent in what appears to be attempts to cover for their political heads.
The DA hopes that this will be the beginning of a new “crime does not pay” era in the Free State. The people of the Free State remain destitute, unemployed and in poverty because of corruption. We hope that the courts will continue to build their credibility with similar judgments in future against individuals who think that they can plunder state resources with impunity.
The DA will continue to lay criminal charges and monitor all corruption cases in the Free State to ensure that the long arm of the law reaches into every Provincial Department and every municipality in the Free State.