The Mangaung Metro in Bloemfontein says it has started to close roads to the Magistrate’s Court where ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule and seven others are scheduled to appear again as a large number of supporters are expected to converge on the court on Friday morning.

Magashule and his co-accused are facing various charges, including fraud and corruption. The charges relate to the alleged irregular awarding of the more than R250 million Free State asbestos roofing audit contract.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) says Magashule might face more charges when he appears in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court today.

Mangaung Municipality spokesperson Qondile Khedama says, “We tried to make sure the place is cornered, particularly the Magistrate’s precinct where people will be regulated. We have learned from past experiences what’s supposed to happen and today we are better organised. The law enforcement team has doubled because in previous court appearances people got in court and disrupting proceedings.”

Drumming up support

Magashule’s supporters are meanwhile drumming up support for their planned gathering outside the court.

Members of the Radical Economic Transformation Forces (RET) claim that charges against him are politically-motivated.

The group’s Malefu Mofokeng has accused judges of having underhand tactics.

“Comrade Ace’s charges have nothing to do with law per se but are politically motivated charges. The independence of the judiciary is compromised. Some legal practitioners are no longer committed to the rule of law but use the rule of law to advance narrow political interest for those who are anti-economic transformation,” Mofokeng says.

Congress of South African Students (Cosas) national convenor, Katleho Mangoejane, agrees.

“When comrade Ace Magashule was still the Premier of the Free State he did a lot of development at schools. He prioritised education amongst other things that is why we feel the need to defend him because an attack on Ace Magashule is an attack on education,” he says.

RET forces in the Free State ready to support and defend Magashule: