Free State police have opened a criminal case against organisers of an illegal gathering outside the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
A large crowd of people gathered outside the court waiting to be addressed by ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule.
The crowd contravened the Covid-19 lockdown Disaster Management Act, by gathering in numbers larger than 50, with some not wearing masks.
After his court appearance, Magashule jumped into a lavish vehicle, which had to drive slowly as the crowd surrounded him and chanted his name, while he waved to supporters.
Magashule was expected to address the crowd that came from around the country. Some were seen dancing to struggle songs.
It was later announced by former ANC Youth League leader Andile Lungisa that Magashule would not address the crowd due to Covid-19 regulations.
Free State police spokesperson Brigadier Motantsi Makhele said they were investigating.
“Earlier during the day, people were warned and made aware that under the Disaster Management Act, they are gathering illegally. By way of failure to wear masks in public as well as not keeping social distance.
“After situational analysis and 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.
“The provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Baile Motswenyane has instructed the District Commissioner for Mangaung Metro to put a team together to gather all information and make sure that the case is tabled before the court as soon as possible,” Makhele said.
Meanwhile, Magashule has claimed that when all is done and dusted, he will spill the beans and tell the public everything.
Magashule addressed members of the media on Friday afternoon following his appearance in court.
He maintained his innocence and that there was no corruption under his leadership in the Free State.
“Under my term, there was no corruption… Once this case is over, history will absolve some of us, at that point, I will be able to express myself to the public,” said Magashule.
Magashule said the only reason he could not talk was because of advice from his legal counsel.
Additional reporting from Siyanda Ndlovu