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ANC secretary-general won’t step down in the face of criminal charges


ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, who is expected to appear in court on Friday to face criminal charges, has not been asked to stand down from his powerful position in the party that governs South Africa.

A warrant of arrest was issued against Magashule yesterday in connection with the controversial R255-million asbestos project that was awarded when he was Premier of the Free State

The ANC’s most senior leadership structure – the Top Six – met on an urgent basis to consider the issuance of the warrant for the arrest of Magashule. 


The ANC said Magashule briefed the Top Six officials about communication he had received from the law enforcement agencies and pledged to co-operate.

ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte has announced at a media briefing that according to the Magashule’s briefing, he will be charged under Section 34 of Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act. 

Duarte said the ANC is taking legal advice on whether members who face criminal charges should step down. “The national executive committee has reviewed that decision and has taken a view  that we need to take serious legal counsel, based on the fact that some comrades were initially charged, and then had to vacate their positions and court actions against them then withdrawn after they had already been asked to vacate senior positions in the movement. We are seized with this,” Duarte said.

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Paul Mashatile, the ANC treasurer-general, said ANC members would only be allowed to go to court in support of Magashule but only as individual members and not as representatives of the ANC.

However, Duarte said the Magashule had expressed his wish that no individuals or groups should march, print posters, t-shirts and placards in his name. “The national officials expressed the wish that all structures respect this in the spirit of one ANC and to respect the rule of law,” she said.

Magashule and two other unnamed suspects expected to join the three senior civil servants, a senior politician and three businessmen, who have appeared in court and were released on bail ranging between R50 000 and R500 000.

The “Asbestos Seven” gained their freedom but now have their properties, worth millions, seized and their bank accounts frozen. 

The seven suspects are:

  • Nthimotse Mokhesi (61). Head of the Free State Department of Human Settlements. Bail: R100 000.
  • John Matlakala (42). Director of Supply Chain Management in the Free State Department of Human Settlements. Bail: R50 000.
  • Edwin Sodi (47). CEO of Blackhead Consulting. Bail: R500 000.
  • Sello Radebe (56). Businessman. Bail: R100 000
  • Abel Manyeki (38). Businessman. Bail: R50 000.
  • Thabane Zulu (53). Former director-general of the Free State Department of Human Settlements. Bail R100 000.
  • Sarah “Olly” Mlamleli. (63). Former MEC for Human Settlements in the Free State and ex-Mayor of Mangaung. Bail:  R100 000.
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The “Asbestos Seven” face charges of fraud, corruption, money laundering, theft, attempted theft and contravention of the Asbestos Act. They are expected back in court on February 19, 2021.

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By The African Mirror