Embattled African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Ace Magashule has once again denied being involved in any dubious activity, including in the multimillion rand asbestos tender which was awarded when he was Free State Premier.
Magashule spoke to the media outside the High Court in Bloemfontein on Tuesday, 19 October 2021, where his fraud and corruption case was postponed to 3 November. He along with over a dozen co-accused face a string of charges including fraud, money laundering and corruption.
Ace Magashule says case is politically motivated
In addition to taking issue with the fact that the case has been postponed, Ace Magashule also claimed what he always has – that the charges are politically motivated.
“In the eyes of the public, we are these corrupt people. I have never ever in my life been involved in corruption and I will never be involved in corruption. So please, let justice take its own place and its own time. But we are pleading with the NPA, let them not play with the sentiments of our people.”
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule
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 Sodi. 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.