News / South Africa / Courts

Cheryl Kahla
Deputy Online News Editor
2 minute read
3 Nov 2021
11:45 am

Magashule: R255 million asbestos tender case postponed to next year

Cheryl Kahla

Ace Magashule claims the charges against him are politically orchestrated.

Former premier of Free State Ace Magashule and 15 other co-accused appeared in the high court in Bloemfontein over 255 million tender, 11 August 2021. Photo: Felix Dlangamandla/Pool

The corruption case of suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule and his 15 co-accused – 10 individuals and five companies – has been postponed to 21 February 2022.

This after the Bloemfontein High Court postponed the case on 19 October for a pre-trial conference.

Judge Cagney Musi confirmed motions and affidavits should be filed by 19 November, with the state filing answering affidavits by 7 December.

Any accused wishing to file replying affidavits can do so by 15 December. 

ALSO READ: Arrest warrant issued for Magashule’s US-based former personal assistant

Magashule returns to court

Abestos tender

Magashule and the accused face over 70 charges, including theft, corruption and money laundering relating to a R255 million tender.

Also Read: Arrest warrant issued for Magashule’s US-based former personal assistant

The National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said the prosecution was ready to proceed with the corruption trial.

“On our part as the prosecution, we believe that we have a formidable case [and] we have witnesses to testify in order to sustain these charges, and we have always been ready to proceed in this matter,” Mhaga said.

Alongside Magashule, the following accused are also on trial:

  • Businessman Edwin Sodi,
  • Free State human settlements department head Nthimotse Mokhesi,
  • Businessman Sello Radebe,
  • Former director-general of the national Department of Human Settlements Thabane Zulu,
  • Former provincial human settlements MEC Sarah “Olly” Mlamleli,
  • Free State human settlements supply chain manager director Mahlamola Matlakela,
  • Businessman Abel Manyeki,
  • Nozipho Belina Molikoe, chief financial officer of the provincial human settlements department in 2014,
  • Thabiso Makepe, chief engineer of the department, and
  • Albertus Venter, head of the legal department in the office of the Free State premier.

Magashule eager to prove innocence

Magashule maintains he is innocent, and claims the charges against him are politically orchestrated. He was eager to “be in the box” to testify

“I want to be in the box so that South Africans can know what is happening in this country”.

Magashule also complained about the slow pace of the trial. The case was initially postponed when new legal representatives were appointed.

ALSO READ: Magashule corruption case postponed to 3 November for pre-trial hearing

R255 million for nothing

The case dates back to 2014, when the Free State human settlements department awarded a contract worth R255 million to Diamond Hill and Blackhead Consulting.

This was related to assessing asbestos in houses in the Free State, however, the work was never done despite money exchanging hands.

It later emerged only R21 million worth of work – which was outsourced to a company with actual experience in the field – was conducted.

Additional reporting by Thapelo Lekabe and Nica Richards