Case opened after Magashule supporters held an illegal gathering outside court

Thousands of Ace Magashule's supporters were gathered outside the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court on Friday for his appearance in connection with a multi-million rand asbestos corruption scandal.

Supporters of ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule gathered outside the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court as he appeared for his fraud, corruption and money laundering case on 19 February 2021. Picture: Xanderleigh Dookey-Makhaza/Eyewitness News.

BLOEMFONTEIN - Free State police have opened a case under the Disaster Management Act for an illegal gathering at Hertzog Plein.

Thousands of Ace Magashule's supporters were gathered there on Friday for his court appearance in connection with a multi-million rand asbestos corruption scandal.

Police say the crowd was warned that they were contravening the Disaster Management Act as most of them failed to wear masks or keep a social distance.

READ: Fraud & corruption case against Magashule, co-accused moved to High Court

Police spokesperson Montantsi Makhele said: “After situational analysis an calculating the risks associated with dispersing crowds, a decision was taken as guided by the law to open a case under the Disaster Management Act against those who organised this illegal gathering.”

Magashule's case - involving him and 15 co-accused - has been postponed to 11 August for a pre-trial hearing.

READ: Theatrics expected at Magashule court appearance as detractors send mask message

They're accused of multi-million rand fraud and corruption related to an asbestos roofing audit project from Magashule's time as premier of the Free State.

Three new suspects appeared in the magistrates court on Friday morning.

They've each been granted bail of R50,000.

WATCH: What you need to know about Ace Magashule and the asbestos saga

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