The pre-trial hearing of suspended African National Congress Secretary-General Ace Magashule and co-accused will continue at the High Court in Bloemfontein on Tuesday.

Magashule, ten others and five companies face charges relating to the alleged irregular awarding of the R255 million asbestos roofing contract.

The co-accused include former Human Settlements MEC Olly Mlamleli, businessman Edwin Sodi and former Human Settlements head of department Nthimotse Mokhesi.

They are facing more than 70 charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering. The charges relate to the alleged irregular awarding of the asbestos roof eradication contract that dates back to 2014.

They are facing more than 70 counts of fraud, corruption, theft and money laundering.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga says, “As the prosecution, we are ready for the pre-trial conference to proceed . However, there was an issue that is outstanding that related to the legal representation of one of the accused. We are hoping that matter will be resolved by Tuesday so that the court can proceed to arrange a trial date.”

During the last appearance at the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court in August, thousands of Magashule supporters gathered around the CBD saying the law enforcement officials must refrain from prosecuting him. This as the country was under a strict lockdown due to COVID-19.

The ANC Interim Provincial Committee (IPC) in the Free State says party members may only attend the court case in their personal capacity.

“Our position is that as the ANC, we would not advise our structures to go as structures of the ANC to support members of the ANC who are facing corruption charges. However, people can go as individuals to support people who are facing corruption but not as the ANC. That is the position of the ANC,” says Oupa Khoabane, IPC member.

The video below from August 11 reports on the heavy security presence in Bloemfontein ahead of Magashule and co-accused asbestos pre-trial: