Ace Magashule ANC Suspended

Former FS Premier and current ANC SG Ace Magashule. Photo by GIANLUIGI GUERCIA / AFP

Ace Magashule and others return to court over R255m asbestos case

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule is alleged to have sought gratifications to the tune of R1.1 million rands from one of the recipients of the lucrative asbestos contract

Ace Magashule ANC Suspended

Former FS Premier and current ANC SG Ace Magashule. Photo by GIANLUIGI GUERCIA / AFP

The African National Congress (ANC) secretary general Ace Magashule is expected back in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Friday, 19 February 2021, for his alleged role in the multimillion rand asbestos case.

Magashule will however not be alone and will be appearing alongside several suspects, including controversial businessman Edwin Sodi, former Mangaung mayor, Olly Mlameli as well as former Free State government officials.

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), also known as the Hawks, arrested the suspects in November 2020, just days after Sodi had revealed to the State Capture Commission that he had made a number of payments to several ANC members, including Zizi Kodwa, Pinky Kekana and Zweli Mkhize.

Sodi’s company Blackhead Consulting was one of two which were awarded the contract. The other company was Diamond Hill Trading, whose owner Ignatius “Igo” Mpambani was killed in a suspected hit in Sandton in 2018.

The R255 million contract deal was for the assessing and removal of asbestos roofing in thousands of houses in 2014 in the province, when Magashule was still premier. He is considered a critical figure in the awarding of the tender.

Asbestos saga: What exactly is Ace Magashule charged for?

At the time of his court appearance on 13 November 2020, Ace Magashule appeared in the dock alone and was released on R200 000 bail. He faces 21 charges of fraud and corruption.

It is alleged that Magashule condoned and accepted a number of gratifications on behalf of others from Mpambani. The payments total over R1 million, including R300 000 for tablets and R53 000 towards the tuition fees for the daughter of an acting judge.

The two companies sub-contracted two other separate companies of which one allegedly did the work for only R21 million. R230 million was paid to the initial contracting company and Sodi, the director of the Blackhead Consultants company.

“The current loss to the department is, therefore, R230 million and further potential loss is R25 million. The procurement process was done in a fraudulent and corrupt manner. In addition, certain public officials received gratification from the company and/or an individual amounting to several counts of corruption involving more than R 2 million,” National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Sipho Ngwema said at the time.

The NPA’s Asset Forfeiture Unit was quick to act, seizing assets belonging to the accused in the case. The items included luxury vehicles and property – a large chunk belonged to Sodi.