Supporters of Ace Magashule have been gathering in Bloemfontein ahead of the ANC secretary-general’s court appearance on charges of corruption, theft and money laundering.
Magashule, who is out on R200 000 bail, will appear before the Magistrate’s Court in Bloemfontein along with seven co-accused on 21 charges of fraud and corruption. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) may add charges to Magashule’s docket, according to spokesperson Sipho Ngwema.
The State alleges that Magashule benefited from unlawful payments to the tune of more than R1 million from Diamond Hill Trading for a multimillion-rand asbestos project in the Free State while he was the province’s premier.
Diamond Hill and Blackhead Construction were jointly awarded the contract under suspicious circumstances. The contract, which was for the identification and removal of asbestos roofing, saw R255 million unlawfully paid to contractors without following proper procurement processes.
Three senior government officials are also set to appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Friday after they were arrested by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) in connection with the multimillion-rand asbestos contract scandal. On Friday morning, busloads of ANC supporters converged on Bloemfontein to show their support for Magashule.
A heavy police presence could be observed as armoured vehicles stood guard outside the courthouse. The radical economic transformation faction of the ANC has thrown its weight behind Magashule, and threatened that there would be dire consequences should he be convicted.
Last week, ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe warned members who intend to support Magashule at court not to behave in a manner “perceived to be undermining the decorum” of the ruling party.
Supporters of #AceMagashule gather at Rose Park a few kilometres from the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court where the ANC secretary-general is set to appear today in connection with the multimillion rand asbestos contract scandal. Video: Timothy Bernard @AfriNewsAgency pic.twitter.com/yyC93G8acr
— IOL News (@IOL) February 19, 2021