We're not defending corruption, says FS ANC as it rallies round Magashule

ANC secretary-geneal Ace Magashule is facing a string of graft allegations related to a controversial multi-million rand asbestos contract in the Free State during his time as premier.

ANC SG Ace Magashule at an NEC meeting in Irene on 1 April 2019. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - With African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Ace Magashule expected to present himself to the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court in two days' time, the ANC in the Free State has called on its members to calm down.

Magashule is facing a string of graft allegations related to a controversial multi-million rand asbestos contract in the Free State during his time as premier.

READ: Hawks confirm arrest warrant issued for Magashule

The Free State ANC's spokesperson, Thabo Meeko, said that the party would not tolerate corruption but would also not allow a senior member to come under attack.

"We are not defending corruption, we are defending principle and where we believe that a leader of the ANC is under attack, structures of the ANC will rise in defence of such a leader."

Meeko has called on members to allow the law to take its course and not to prejudge the outcome.

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Meanwhile, the MKMVA is also expected to support Magasule outside the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court on Friday when he is due to make his first appearance.

'I'VE DONE NOTHING WRONG'

Magashule on Tuesday said that he had done nothing wrong and maintained that he had not broken the law despite a warrant for his arrest.

There were initial reports in October of a warrant of arrest for Magashule, but the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) denied this.

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Magashule then warned against “Hollywood-style” arrests. He said his lawyers would speak to the NPA but did not draw on Hollywood this time around.

“I will talk to my lawyers, it has been coming all the time, I’m not worried at all. The struggle continues, I haven’t done anything wrong as a law-abiding citizen of South Africa,” he said.

At the same time, the ANC in the Free State came out guns blazing, saying people who had stolen from the province should be prosecuted.

ALSO READ: ANC in FS calls for prosecutions

The party briefed the media on Tuesday afternoon in Bloemfontein ahead of its march on Wednesday condemning the corruption in the controversial unlawful asbestos project.

The ANC’s Mxolisi Dukwana said that Magashule should prove his innocence and that no one was above the law.

“It is something to deny any wrongdoing, but it is also something to actually as a responsible person, at some stage, there is a need to stand up and actually be honest to yourself,” Dukwana said.

Additional reporting by Sifiso Zulu.

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