Citizen Reporter
Reporter
3 minute read
16 Apr 2022
9:30 am

Magashule still wants charges dropped in asbestos case, heads to SCA

Citizen Reporter

Magashule faces fraud and corruption charges in connection to the R255 million asbestos project.

African National Congress (ANC) suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule outside Free State High Court on 3 November 2021 in Bloemfontein. Picture: Gallo Images/Volksblad/Mlungisi Louw

Suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule has launched another bid to have his charges dropped in the asbestos case.

Magashule, who was suspended by the ANC last year after failing to step aside, is facing a string of charges in connection to the 2014 asbestos audit tender valued at R255 million.

The ANC secretary-general and his co-accused sought have the charges dropped after questioning the validity of the corruption and fraud charges levelled against them.

However, their applications was dismissed with costs by the Free State High Court’s Judge Soma Naidoo in March.

Magashule has since approached the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein with a leave to appeal application to have his charges dropped, News24 reported.

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In his papers filed last Thursday, the ANC secretary-general argued that the High Court erred in its ruling to dismiss his application.

He further said that Naidoo failed to deal with the state’s striking out application relating to specific parts of the applicant’s founding and replying affidavits.

On Monday, Carl Niehaus, the spokesperson of the disbanded uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA), told Jacaranda News that Magashule would continue his battle in the SCA.

“I can confirm that the secretary-general of the ANC did appeal the decision that was taken by High Court in Mangaung to the Supreme Court. There’s nothing more I can say about it,” Niehaus said.

Background

Magashule and his co-accused’s case dates back to 2014, when the Free State Department of Human Settlements 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.

Magashule has maintained he is innocent, and claims the charges against him are politically orchestrated.

Suspension

Meanwhile, Magashule also seeks to have his suspension from the ANC overturned.

The SCA dismissed his application with costs in January this year.

“It is the right of people to appeal where they’re not satisfied, so of course we’ll appeal to the highest court in the land because what I was arguing was about the ANC constitution, it is not in line with the constitution of the country,” said Magashule after the ruling was delivered.

Magashule had filed papers at the appeal court in a bid to overturn his suspension. The ANC secretary-general also wanted the court to uphold his attempt to suspend President Cyril Ramaphosa as ANC’s leader.

READ MORE: ‘Ace is lying about instruction from NWC to suspend me’, says Ramaphosa

He believed the SCA would come to a different conclusion on his appeal application, arguing that the ANC’s step-aside rule was unconstitutional and flouted the principle that an accused is innocent until proven guilty.

The matter came after the Johannesburg High Court, in July 2021, dismissed Magashule’s application to overturn his suspension from the ANC.

That application was dismissed with costs, with the court finding that his suspension was consistent with the ANC’s and the country’s constitution.