Thapelo Lekabe

By Thapelo Lekabe

Senior Digital Journalist

Trial date set for Magashule, co-accused’s R255m asbestos tender case

Magashule has maintained his innocence over the corruption charges and claims that they are politically motivated.

The corruption case of former African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Ace Magashule and his co-accused has been set down for trial next year.

R255m asbestos tender case

After more than two years on the pre-trial roll, the corruption case was finally scheduled for trial from 15 April to 23 June 2024.

ALSO READ: Attempt by Magashule and Sodi to quash prosecution dismissed

Magashule and his several co-accused appeared briefly on Friday in the Bloemfontein High Court for pre-trial proceedings.

The former ANC secretary-general and his co-accused face charges of fraud, corruption, money laundering and contravention of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) related to the R255 million Free State asbestos corruption matter.

Magashule has maintained his innocence over the corruption charges and claims that they are politically motivated.

These charges are in connection with an asbestos tender that was awarded by the Free State Department of Human Settlement to the Blackhead Consulting joint venture to audit, assess and remove asbestos from homes in some of the province’s poorest areas about seven years ago.

READ: Magashule cries foul over yet another Free State asbestos corruption case delay

Magashule was the Free State’s premier when the contract was awarded to the Blackhead Consulting joint venture.

His co-accused include businessman and owner of Blackhead Consulting, Edwin Sodi, Thabane Zulu, Nthimotse Mokhesi, Mahlomola Matlakala, Sello Radebe, Kgotso Manyeki, Sarah Mlamleli, Nozipho Molikoe, Albertus Venter, Moroadi Cholota, Margaret-Ann Deidericks, and three other companies – 602 Consulting Solutions, Mastertrade 232 and Ori Group.

New political party claims

During his court appearance, Magashule spoke to the media and responded to allegations that he planned to form his own political party with disgruntled members of the ANC in the Free State.

He said he was not considering starting his own party even though he had been approached by several people to do that.

Magashule said he will remain a loyal member of the governing party.

“I’ve been approached by different parties and I said: ‘No, I can’t join any party’. I’ve been approached by communities and members of the ANC across the country to form a party… I’ve not joined any party for now,” he said.

“I’m a member of the ANC and I joined the party voluntarily when it was not fashionable [and] when it was life or death. I did not join the ANC because of positions… I joined the ANC to fight for justice and fight against apartheid.”

SCA ruling

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) on Tuesday dismissed attempts by Magashule and Sodi to question the validity of their prosecution in the R255 million asbestos case.

The pair’s applications were dismissed with costs after the SCA ruled that the appeal had “no reasonable prospects of success… and there is no compelling reason why an appeal should be heard”.

NOW READ: ‘Magashule has reached a cul-de-sac in his ANC career’ – Mantashe defends Mbalula

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Ace Magashule corruption trial Free State NPA

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