ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule and seven others are scheduled to appear again in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court this morning together with five companies.

They are facing various charges, including fraud and corruption. The charges relate to the alleged irregular awarding of the more than R250 million Free State asbestos roofing audit contract.

Former Free State ANC Treasurer Mxolisi Dukwana who is a former long-serving MEC in the Free State was fired by Magashule in February 2012 following a political fallout.

Dukwana says he was axed for his tough stance on corruption.

“In observation, this case is important to open the lid over the strong allegations of rampant corruption that plagued our province since 2009 when Elias Magashule assumed the Premiership. This appearance is in our view important to uphold the legal principle of Audi Alteram pattern. After years of allegations of fraud and corruption, we must hear the other side of the story,” advises Dukwana.

Dukwana believes the ANC SG should lead by example and vacate his position of power as per an ANC resolution that members, who are formally charged in a court of law, must step aside from their positions in the organisation.

Call for Magashule to vacate his position:

Drumming up support

Magashule’s supporters are meanwhile drumming up support for their planned gathering outside court.

Members of the Radical Economic Transformation Forces (RET) claim that charges against him are politically-motivated.

The group’s Malefu Mofokeng has accused judges of having underhand tactics.

“Comrade Ace charges have nothing to do with law per se but are politically motivated charges. The independence of the judiciary is compromised. Some legal practitioners are no longer committed to the rule of law but use the rule of law to advance narrow political interest for those who are anti-economic transformation,” Mofokeng says.

Congress of South African Students (Cosas) national convenor, Katleho Mangoejane, agrees.

“When comrade Ace Magashule was still the Premier of the Free State he did a lot of development at schools. He prioritised education amongst other things that is why we feel the need to defend him because an attack on Ace Magashule is an attack on education,” he says.

RET forces in the Free State ready to support and defend Magashule:

Call for tough action

Former MEC in the Free State, Sekgopi Malebo, has called for tough action to be taken against members of the so-called ‘Radical Economic Transformation Forces’.

Malebo says the planned mass gathering will be violating Disaster Management regulations.

“We call on our people in general that tomorrow (Friday) we ourselves who were supposed to be appearing there in support of our justice system, in support of the law enforcement officers that have brought Magashule and company to court. We will not do so for one reason only out of respect for the COVID-19 rules. We will not appear in front of the court in support and obedience of the president’s call of avoiding crowds,” adds Malebo.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has said the prosecuting team is likely to add more charges when Magashule appears in court today.

Spokesperson Sipho Ngwema says they are prepared to move the case to the High Court for trial.

This as the Hawks announced the arrest of three senior government officials on Thursday.

Hawks spokesperson, Katlego Mogale, says the three will also appear today in Bloemfontein.