The African National Congress (ANC) in the Free State has denied reports that Social Development MEC Mamiki Qabathe has handed herself over to the police.

This follows social media reports that Qabathe handed herself in and will appear in court soon.

The reports came after six suspects including a former MEC and senior ANC official were arrested by the Hawks in connection with a R255 million contract awarded to a company by the Free State government in 2014 to survey asbestos roofs.

Free State ANC Spokesperson Thabo Meeko, says, “The arrest of another ANC leader in the province is not known to us. We don’t have a formal briefing. We are choosing to rely on the relevant and appropriate authority and we are encouraging our people to desist from these fake news or wrong information. The work of the commission; the work of the law enforcement agencies will be communicated to all of us when the time is due and correct. So, we will rely on such; not any other issue as the leadership of the ANC in the province. But there’s no need for such an unnecessary panic in the province. We are cooperating with commission; we are cooperating with law enforcement agency as the leadership of ANC.”

he Hawks and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) are searching for more suspects believed to be linked to the multi-million rand asbestos tender investigation in the Free State.

On Wednesday the Hawks arrested six suspects in the province and Gauteng, The SIU says it has been probing the R255 million contract awarded to a company by the Free State government in 2014 for the eradication of asbestos roofs on houses.

Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi says some suspects are still at large.

Mulaudzi says, “The operation is covering three provinces, KwaZulu Natal, Free State and Gauteng, there are also five companies that are going to be charged as well and all the suspects will appear in court on Friday in Bloemfontein…”

“There is a warrant of arrest that has been issued against those suspects so if they are on the run it will have very serious implications when they apply for bail on Friday – so it’s better for them to hand themselves over…” added Mulaudzi.

Hawks arrest suspects implicated in Free State asbestos project