The National Prosecuting Authority says it will not oppose bail application for ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule. 61-year-old Magashule has already handed himself over to the Hawks and will appear before the Bloemfontein Magistrates’ Court.
Magashule is one of those accused in the alleged irregular awarding of the R255 million asbestos roofing assessment tender.
Ace Magashule to appear in court:
NPA spokesperson, Sipho Ngwema, believes they have a watertight case against all the accused.
“As much as we are ready to proceed with a trial, we just need to make sure that beside that appearance today, we bring in at least three more others so that by the time you come back in February, we are able to get the high court date and then you proceed with the trial. At this point, there are no glaring issues that will compel us to oppose bail.”
Support for Magashule
Police have their hands full in controlling scores of ANC supporters who are demanding to be allowed inside the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court ahead of Magashule’s appearance. Some of them pushed the gate as they attempt to force their way inside the courtyard.
Some supporters insist that the case against Magashule has no legal basis.
MKMVA spokesperson, Carl Niehaus, says people wearing ANC regalia have been mandated by branches to show support.
“They are wearing it because they are members of the ANC and they have been mandated by the branches and regions to come here and express their support. They do so and this is very important because they are deeply concerned about what this warrant of arrest can do to the ANC and unity. Our gathering is to bring unity, to express support to a comrade under attack, but you cannot ask members who love the organization not to wear ANC regalia.”
Angry ANC members burn t-shirts with Cyril Ramaphosa’s face:
Magashule’s arrest step in the right direction
The DA in the Free State says Magashule’s arrest is a step in the right direction.
The DA took the asbestos matter to the High Court in Bloemfontein in 2015 in bid to stop alleged suspicious payments in the asbestos contract. The matter was dismissed as it was not deemed urgent. This prompted the party to escalate the matter to the Public Protector.
Free State DA legislature member, Leona Kleynhans, says they feel vindicated.
“Corruption has been going on in the Free State and the ones that have been suffering the most is the poor people. So we are very relieved that, at last, we have reached this point because we’ve been working on this matter, the asbestos matter, since 2015. So for others it’s a relief because a great injustice was done in the Free State and those who are guilty must face the law.”
Ace Magashule appears in the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court:
– Additonal reporting by Makgala Masiteng.