The High Court in Bloemfontein has dismissed applications by suspended African National Congress (ANC) Secretary-General Ace Magashule and three others to have corruption charges relating to the R255-million asbestos roof contract against them dropped.
Businessman Edwin Sodi, former Human Settlements director-general Thabani Zulu and former Free State Human Settlements head Nthimotse Mokhesi argued that charges against them were premised on evidence presented before the State Capture Commission of Inquiry.
Magashule contended that charges against him were politically motivated.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has welcomed the judgment, saying it has full confidence in the strength of its case and will let the evidence speak for itself during the trial.
The pretrial hearing will start on the 10th of June.
At his previous hearing last month, Magashule accused the NPA of wasting time and lying to South Africans:
Magashule vows to clear his name
Magashule has since vowed to fight to the bitter end to have his name cleared.
In a report from December last year, Magashule said he also wants the prosecution to disclose the list of witnesses who have implicated him. His lawyers have accused the prosecution of being dishonest about the role of Magashule’s former personal assistant, Moroadi Cholota.
This was after the state announced that a warrant of arrest will be issued against the US-based Cholota.
Cholota has allegedly failed to cooperate with law enforcement officials.
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane found that the asbestos roof removal contract was not cost-effective.
There are still more than 30 000 asbestos-roofed houses in the Free State.
The Department of Human Settlements has since promised to resolve the issue of asbestos-roofed houses in the province.
During a visit by the Department to Hillside Extension in Mangaung, residents, including military veterans, expressed discontent with the condition of their houses less than a year after occupying them.
More details in the report below:
-Additional reporting by SABC News