ANC Secretary-General, Ace Magashule, has been granted bail of R200 000 by the Bloemfontein Magistrates’ Court in the Free State. He is the eighth person to be charged, together along with five companies, for their alleged role in the irregular awarding of a R255 million asbestos roofing assessment tender.
The accused face multiple charges which include fraud, corruption and money laundering.
The court has acceded to the request of the prosecution that Magashule be ordered not to contact his former personal assistant, Moroadi Chalota, who is now a state witness. The state has submitted that Magashule has co-operated with the investigators and is not deemed a flight risk.
He will back in court on February 19, 2021.
Ace Magashule appears in court:
NPA spokesperson Sipho Ngwema says more suspects are to be arrested before Magashule’s next court appearance.
“We expect to add three more accused on the charge sheet before then and we are hoping that in February, we should be able to set a trial date which is going to take place at the high court. The investigations are done, we just need to add a few more people to the charge sheet and then we move forward we go to trial. The state is ready and we hope that things will be able to move fairly quickly given the fact that the accused now have the indictment with them, and when those three are added we should be able to start as soon as possible.”
Statement on the indictment of Ace Magashule and co-accused:
Support for Magashule
ANC Spokesperson Pule Mabe says Magashule is innocent until proven guilty. He was addressing members outside the court.
Mabe says the provincial leadership will address the issue of people who were seen burning t-shirts bearing the face of ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Angry ANC members burn t-shirts with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s face:
#FeesMustFall activist, Mcebo Dlamini, says they will support Magashule through thick and thin.
“Remember the secretary-general is the heart of the ANC. The core when you talk of the political party, the SG is the mantle, the aorta of the movement. When you attack the aorta, you’re killing the ANC. So we are here to support him not that he’s guilty, not that he’s not guilty. We are not talking about the merits and the demerits of the matter, but we are with the SG all the way. Whether he’s found guilty and taken to jail we support him.”
ANC NEC member Tony Yengeni says they are unapologetic in their support for Magashule.
“I’m a member of the ANC, I’m a member of the NEC. I’m here in my right as a member of the ANC, not just as an individual and nobody is going to deny me the right to be here today and wear ANC colours. I fought for these colours, I took up arms, I went to prison for these colours. So no one is going to stop me from supporting the SG of the ANC in my ANC colours.”
Top ANC leaders in Bloemfontein to support Ace Magashule:
The NPA had indicated earlier that it would not be opposing Magashule’s bail application.
– Additonal reporting by Ishmael Modiba.