Photo: Gallo Images
Photo: Gallo Images
Suspended African National Congress (ANC) Secretary-General Ace Magashule is more than ready for his day in court and to prove to South Africans that he has been apparently been right all along – that the charges against him stemming from the multimillion rand asbestos case have no merit.
Magashule had a sit down with eNCA on Sunday, 20 February 2022, a day before pretrial proceedings commence in the the High Court in Bloemfontein. He and several others face a string of charges in connection to the R255 million asbestos tender that was awarded in the Free State, when he was still premier.
Ace Magashule maintains that the charges against him are all politically motivated and that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is pursuing a case despite having no concrete evidence which implicates him in wrongdoing.
Magashule tells eNCA that he wants to be in the dock so he can prove that the NPA is grasping at straws.
“They are wasting time because they have no information. This is a political trial and we’ll prove with time that it’s a political trial. That is why I want to be in the box, I want to be there so that South Africans know the truth. That I have been in Parliament for 25 years and I could not do anything wrong. Suddently, in the last years of my term, I do something wrong which is corruption. When we have fought… I still support the ANC resolution in terms of fighting corruption”Suspended ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule
When asked who within the ANC he suspected was behind this so-called witch-hunt, Magashule couldn’t give an answer, but indicated that all would be revealed in time.
Background: In 2014, the Free State human settlements department awarded a contract worth a whopping R255 million to two companies – Diamond Hill and Blackhead Consulting. This was 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.
Here’s how Ace Magashule fits into this scandal: At the time, he was still the province’s premier – he is alleged to have condoned and accepted a number of gratifications on behalf of others from Ignatius “Igo” Mpambani, the late owner of Diamond Hill Trading. Blackhead Consulting is owned by controversial businessman Edwin Sodi, who is among the accused. 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.