ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule’s throng of supporters outside the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court today. Picture: Timothy Bernard / African News Agency (ANA)
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule’s throng of supporters outside the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court today. Picture: Timothy Bernard / African News Agency (ANA)

DA condemns SAPS for allowing Magashule supporters to defy lockdown rules outside court

By IOL Reporter Time of article published Feb 19, 2021

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Cape Town – The DA took exception to the ’’inaction of the SAPS’’ outside the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court, where ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, among others, appeared on Friday.

Magashule, who appeared along with 10 other individuals and five companies, is facing 21 counts of fraud and corruption.

He appeared in court for the second time to face allegations related to a contract to audit houses with asbestos roofs awarded while he was Free State premier.

Leader of the opposition in the Free State Dr Roy Jankielsohn MPL is of the opinion that the SAPS was ’’implementing two sets of rules’’ regarding the Covid-19 lockdown regulations, with hordes of Magashule supporters ’’blatantly defying lockdown regulations relating to the ban on all political meetings, social distancing and the wearing of masks in public’’.

ANC Youth league president Andile Mlungisi, though, mid-morning informed the crowd that due to Covid-19 restrictions, Magashule would not be addressing his supporters after his court appearance.

'’ANC supporters of the factional warlord Ace Magashule arrogantly defy government lockdown regulations with impunity in the Free State province, while other citizens are subjected to bullying and abuse,’’ Jankielsohn said in a statement.

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’’In January this year, the SAPS used water cannons outside South African Social Services offices in Bellville during a visit there by Minister Lindiwe Zulu.

’’Vulnerable and frail people, some of whom were on crutches, were dispersed by SAPS water cannons for allegedly not applying social distancing in the long queues.

’’Normal citizens were intimidated by the South African National Defence Force and the SAPS who patrolled beaches with automatic firearms to enforce lockdown regulations.

’’Today, in front of the courts in Bloemfontein large numbers of ANC supporters of the Magashule faction blatantly defy lockdown regulations relating to the ban on all political meetings, social distancing and the wearing of masks in public.

’’This is done in front of the SAPS, who appear unwilling or afraid to take action against them. It is clear for the whole country to see that government Covid-19 regulations only apply to people who do not wear ANC-branded clothing or Umkhonto we Sizwe camouflage uniforms.

’’This is another example of the selective implementation of the law by a factionalised, hypocritical ANC-led government that is afraid of its own ANC factions who are outside of government.

’’The ANC-led government are keen to abuse the weak and vulnerable, while cowering in face of puerile delinquents who blatantly and visibly defy the law.

’’The DA will question the Free State MEC for Police, Roads and Transport, Mr Sam Mashinini, in the Free State Legislature on whether he has raised the blatant defiance of the law in the Free State with the SAPS and Minister Bheki Cele.

’’The DA condemns the ANC for turning our Bloemfontein streets into factional war zones. The unwillingness of the SAPS to implement lockdown regulations against ANC supporters is a further example of how South Africa has degenerated into a weak state under the current government.’’

Magashule’s fraud and corruption case is heading to the Free State High Court following his brief appearance at the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court.

The National Prosecuting Authority was ready to proceed with the matter but the defence of the 16 accused asked magistrate Mxolisi Saliwa to postpone the matter to August 11, when a pre-trial hearing will be held.

The 16 accused are all out on bail of between R50 000 and R500 000 in Sodi’s case.

They are facing charges ranging from fraud, corruption, money laundering and contravening the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act and the Public Finance Management Act in relation to the R255 million contract to audit houses that had asbestos roofs in the province.

Magashule, who was granted bail at his first appearance in November, told reporters outside the court that he would fight the charges.

"I've done nothing wrong and I will prove that in court. There is the legal part and the political part. Let's leave it there," he said, Reuters reported.

NPA prosecutors said the three people being added to 13 already charged were Magashule's former legal adviser, the chief financial officer of the provincial housing department, and the engineer who headed up the asbestos project.

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