The ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule appeared before the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on the 19th February 2021 along with other co-accused individuals. Upon his arrival Magashule addressed the media outside the Magistrate’s Court and said, ’’You guys said we must have our day in court, but they keep on postponing’’. When asked about the charges being laid against him by the National Prosecuting Authority Magashule stated, ‘’Let the NPA do whatever they want to do, I am ready for anything’’. The Secretary General was accompanied to the court proceedings by Pule Mabe who is the National Spokesperson of the ANC.
Magashule faces charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering in connection with a R255 million asbestos deal dating back to when he was the premier of the Free State. In addition, the National Prosecuting Authority recently announced the names of three government officials who are also being charged in relation to this case. They are Nozipho Molikoe (Chief Financial Officer of the Human Settlements Department in the Free State), Thabiso Makepe who at the time was (Chief Engineer at the Human Settlements Department in the Free State) and Albertus Venter who was (Head of Department) during Magashule’s time as the Premier of the Free State. Therefore, Ace Magashule is one of 11 individuals and five companies who are accused of various criminal offences.
The three recently charged government officials also appeared at the Magistrate’s court for a bail hearing. Bail was granted to all three for R50 000 each. However, court proceedings did not convene as scheduled as the case was postponed to the 11th August 2021. The case will now be heard by the Free State High Court. Subsequent to this decision, the ANC Secretary General addressed the media once more and assured them that he will prove his innocence in the courtroom. Pule Mabe also addressed the media on behalf of the Secretary General and said, ’’The SG is a part of a collective it’s very important that at all times yourselves in the media, work to also contribute to the unity of the ANC. The SG was part of the last National Executive Committee; he had issued a statement conveying the decisions of the National Executive Committee. He has pleaded with yourself over and over again that you allow the legal process that is currently being undertaken to follow through’’.
Furthermore, Magashule’s supporters had come out in numbers to support the Secretary General. The members were wearing their ANC regalia and said this in an ENCA interview,’’ We came here to support Comrade Ace Magashule. He cannot go to the court without the members of the ANC because we are supporting him 100 percent, because he is our own member’’. In an ENCA interview, the spokesperson of the NPA Sipho Ngwema expressed this in response to Magashule’s confidence,’’ we have issued an indictment he will see the facts, the summary of the case in terms of what has happened and we have more than 70 counts with regards to the charges we are putting’’. The NPA also asserts that someone needs to account for these crimes.