ANC officials have thrown their weight behind the party’s embattled secretary general Ace Magashule.
The former Free State premier will on Friday hand himself over to the Hawks in Free State and after then appear before the Bloemfontein Magistrate Court on charges of failure to exercise oversight related to the R255 million Asbestos audit project.
ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte said Magashule had offered “important” leadership on the issue of the securing of a warrant for his arrest.
“It was he who said that no leader should support any act of corruption. He also made it clear that he did not want his name to be used in any marches and t-shirts. We appeal to the members to take this seriously,” she said.
“We support our SG and never said we have never said that we don’t support him. Our statement is quite implicit that we are seized with the matter and we do want him to have court appearances that are just and also you treat him fairly and justly in broader society as the law takes its cause,” she added.
Duarte was briefing the media along with the party’s treasurer-general Paul Mashatile on the warrant for Magashule’s arrest.
On Tuesday night, ANC officials held a meeting to get a briefing from Magashule on the charges he is facing.
Duarte said Magashule told them that he was cooperating with the Hawks on the matter.
Mashatile said they would not interfere with the work of law enforcement agencies on the Magashule case.
He said they did not discuss whether Mashatile should step aside to clear his name. The national executive committee of the ANC was still finalizing the circumstances under which leaders charged should step aside.
“We will not interfere with the law enforcement. Let’s allow comrade SG (Magashule) to clear himself,” he said.
Hawks provincial head Major General Major General Kubandran Moodley warned Magashule that his court attendance would be secured “without any prior notice” should he fail to hand himself over at 10am on Friday.
“Arrangement has been made with the public prosecutor to process on the same day, 13 November 2020. Failure to comply with this request will result in securing his attendance without any prior notice,” he said in a letter to Magashule’s legal representatives.
Seven people were already facing charges of fraud and corruption related to the Asbestos project, including Gauteng businessman Edwin Sodi.
The case was today postponed to 19 February next year, with their bail – ranging between R500 000 and R50 000 being extended.