African National Congress (ANC) Secretary-General Ace Magashule has been granted bail of R200 000. Magashule appeared in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Friday 13 November 2020 regarding the infamous Free State asbestos corruption case.
While an arrest warrant was issued for Magashule earlier this week, the Hawks as well as the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) confirmed on Friday that Magashule was formally arrested.
Magistrate Amos Moos took the decision to grant Ace Magashule bail based on the evidence put before him. He also said Magashule would most likely not pose any threat to the public.
“My decision is purely based on evidence presented before me. An accused person is innocent until proven guilty,” said Moos.
Now that Magashule has been granted bail of R200 000, the matter has been remanded to 19 February 2021 where he is expected to appear with his co-accused.
Magashule has also handed his passport over. The charges against him include corruption, fraud, theft and money laundering.
In 2014, the Free State department of human settlements awarded a tender to two companies namely; Diamond Hill and Blackhead Consulting, to audit and assess houses for asbestos roofs in the province. It is alleged that hardly any work was done despite the money being paid. Magashule was the Free State premier at the time.
Magashule, earlier this week, said he had not been made aware of a warrant but maintained that he is a law abiding citizen.
“If it happens, it will happen, I’m not worried at all because I know I haven’t done anything wrong as a law-abiding citizen of South Africa,” he said.
The NPA and the Hawks, on Friday morning, confirmed that Ace Magashule had been formally arrested.
NPA spokesperson Sipho Ngwema said;
“Good morning. I am informed that we may be able to start around 10:00 because the accused will be presented at court at 10:00. This is after handed himself earlier than anticipated.”
Colonel Katlego Mogale said the DPCI (Hawks) executed a warrant of arrest for “a high profile person” who will appear at Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court later today.
“The 61-year-old man is arrested in connection with [a] corruption case emanating from the matter relating to the R255 million asbestos audit contract in the Free State,” added Mogale.
Just as countless supporters gathered for self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary a mere days ago, supporters of Ace Magashule also made their presence clear outside the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
According to reports, several supporters and politicians tried to sneak into to gain access to the court despite barricades being set up by police.
Two politicians have since declared their unwavering support for Ace Magashule. Former ANC NEC member Carl Niehaus said he feels that Magashule is being politically targeted.
“The members of the ANC who have come here today…. representatives from branches, from regions and from provinces have come here with mandates from their branches and regions and the mandate is go and represent us there, make the message clear that we want unity in the ANC, that we do not want any selective targeting of our comrades and especIally not of senior members of the ANC such as a member of the national office bearers.”
Executive Mayor of the City of Ekurhuleni Mzwandile Masina said; “you can arrest Magashule for all his sins, but not his ideas of Radical Economic Transformation. We fear nothing, we have been on this road at some point and we fear nothing. The abuse of State organs to further Political ends have short legs. We will meet at the festival OK.”