Ace Magashule ANC Suspended

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

Ace Magashule on asbestos case: ‘I’ve done nothing wrong’

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule is alleged to have accepted gratifications on behalf of several people, to the tune of R1.1 million

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 has maintained his innocence in the multimillion rand corruption case he is a part of. Magashule and several other co-accused made an appearance at the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Friday, 19 February 2021, over their alleged role in the R255 million asbestos saga.

The matter has been postponed to 11 August 2021 and will be moved to the High Court in Bloemfontein.

“We hope for a speedy trial because justice delayed is something else so we are looking forward to 11 August. I have done nothing wrong and I have proof in court,” Magashule said.

Other suspects who appeared include controversial businessmen Edwin Sodi and Abel Manyeki, former Mangaung mayor Olly Mlameli, the Director for Supply Chain Management at the Human Settlements Department Mahlomola John Matlakala and the same department’s former Director-General Thabane Wiseman Zulu. Nthimotse Mokhesi, the department’s former HOD however could not appear due to ill-health.

Will Ace Magashule step aside?

Ace Magashule refused to fully weigh into the potential political consequences of the matter being in court. In light of the ANC’s step aside resolution guidelines, Magashule might be forced to step down from his duties, something he is undoubtedly unhappy over.

“Well, there is the legal part and political part, let’s leave it there. The ANC is only dealing with the political part but I’m happy with the legal part and I hope this matter will be finalised very soon,” he said.

It is alleged that Magashule condoned and accepted a number of gratifications on behalf of others from Ignatius “Igo” Mpambani, the late owner of Diamond Hill Trading, one of two companies which were awarded the lucrative contract. 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.

Three more people appeared in the dock alongside Magashule and others. Nozipho Molokoe, Thabiso Makepe and Albertus Venter are alleged were arrested by the Hawks on Thursday.

In 2014, the provincial human settlements awarded the controversial a contract to two companies – Diamond Hill and Blackhead Consulting, to audit and assess houses for asbestos roofs in the province. The project entailed inspecting 300 000 low-cost houses, however it would later be revealed that almost no work was no done, despite the money being paid.