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NPA: We have a good case against Ace Magashule

The ANC secretary general faces charges of corruption and fraud, that he abused his position of authority, breached the trust of his office and violated his legal duties while Premier of the Free State.

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule addresses supporters outside the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court where he appeared on 13 November 2020 on corruption-related charges. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The National Prosecuting Authority is confident of its case against ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, who is facing charges of corruption and fraud, that he abused his position of authority, breached the trust of his office and violated his legal duties while Premier of the Free State.

His charge sheet details incidents in which he allegedly received payments from suppliers facilitated by the late Ignatius Mpambani who was shot dead in Sandton in 2018

Mpambani's Diamond Hill and Edwin Sodi's Blackhead company were awarded the R255 million asbestos contract – but the state capture commission heard that only a fraction of this was spent on the contract.

Magashule’s charge sheet said:

  • he had knowledge of the irregular and/or illegal nature of the agreement between Blackhead, Mpambani and the Department of Human Settlements;

  • he accepted gratification of R470,000 from M-Tag systems for 200 electronic tablets which was not legally due; and

  • he accepted two other payments of R200,000 and R100,000 from Griffin Edge – again for 200 tablets.

It also says Mpambani paid R250,000 for Magashule and a delegation of the province to travel to Cuba through Astra Travel.

The NPA’s Sipho Ngwema said all accused would be back in court in February.

“We expect to add three more accused to the charge sheet and we are hoping that in February we will set a trial date.”

The NPA's Sipho Ngwema said they hoped that case would be moved to the High Court when it resumed next year.

“We have a good case and are ready to go to trial.”

The person who many witnesses said relayed messages of requests and orders from and to Magashule – his former PA Moroadi Cholota – is a State witness who the former premier is now forbidden from making contact with directly or through third parties.

'I WILL NEVER LEAVE THE ANC'

After being granted bail of R200,000, Magashule told his supporters outside court that only the branches of the ANC could decide whether he should step aside.

WATCH: Ace Magashule: I will only step aside if the ANC branches tell me to

"I was elected by branches at conference. The voices of branches must say to me I must step aside and I will then do so."

This is in contrast to the instruction by President Cyril Ramaphosa that all members accused of an offence must step aside.

He said he would not ever leave the ANC, regardless of what happened.

“I will never leave the ANC. I am not going to do like those leaders who left the ANC. I remain in the ANC. I will come fend for it. You won’t remove me. You will find me there.”

GALLERY: Supporters come out in numbers for Ace Magashule

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe was also at the court and indicated that Magashule said he would continue to co-operate with the court.

“He was here in court and still showed the necessary cooperation. This is quite encouraging to cooperate with law enforcement agencies and to allow processes to follow their due course.”

Meanwhile, former North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo, who was also at court to support Magashule, said he hoped that Magashule's charges were not a continuation of a mission from the Nasrec conference to ensure that Magashule didn't finish his term.

“So there were murmurings then that something drastic has to be done to Ace Magashule not to finish his term as the ANC secretary general. Now that their attempt to go to court at Nasrec did not succeed, I just hope that these developments that are taking place, there’s no relationship between what is happening now and what some people said and did at the Nasrec conference.”

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