Security has been tightened and roads cordoned off around the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court in the Free State where ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule is expected to appear on Friday.

Magashule is expected to hand himself over to the Hawks before 10am before his scheduled court appearance on charges of corruption.

The matter relates to his alleged involvement in the irregular awarding of the R255-million asbestos contract in 2014 while he was the Premier of the Free State.

Ace Magashule to appear in court:

Mangaung Metro’s Qondile Khedama says, “One of the streets that is going to be affected is President Road. You know it is one of the busiest streets because of the Central University of Technology. We have informed the public that a few roads would be closed. The intention is to also respect members of the community. We have to respect democracy and ensure that all citizens are treated equally. They cannot be inconvenienced or not be informed simply because there are activities that are taking place this morning here.”

Tensions rising between groups for and against Ace Magashule:

‘ANC torn apart by corruption’

Meanwhile, political analyst Ralph Mathekga says what is happening in the ANC clearly shows that the party has been torn apart by corruption.

On Wednesday, ANC Deputy Secretary-General Jessie Duarte told the media that the party was seeking legal counsel on the issue of members stepping aside from their duties when charged with corruption.

Mathekga says the ANC has failed to deal with serious problems that the country is facing such as escalating unemployment and crime.

“The reality is that today, the ANC is not attending to how to deal with 30% unemployment. They are consumed by this issue and one could ask, how focused are they on issues that concern South Africans – high unemployment. How much time do they have in a day to attend to issues of the day?”

Political battles

ANC supporters of Magashule have reiterated their allegation that law enforcement agencies are being used to fight political battles.

They have started gathering outside the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court ahead of Magashule’s appearance.

ANC Chief Whip in the Free State legislature, Vusi Tshabalala, says what is happening to Magashule is similar to what happened to former ANC President Jacob Zuma.

“We are not happy as members of the branches of the ANC where we see that the institutions, which are Chapter 9 institutions, are being used to deal with political matters. I can tell you now what happened prior 2007 where we took decisions where Jacob Zuma, the President at that time, was also being attacked the same way that we see today. While we will respect the constitution of this country, we will definitely show that respect because until proven guilty then we will talk something. But for now, we are behind the Secretary-General of the ANC.”

Free State ANC says Magashule must step down:

– Additional reporting by Makgala Masiteng.