PICS: I’m waiting for my day in court, says defiant Ace Magashule
Johannesburg – ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule was defiant on Friday morning ahead of his appearance at the Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court.
Magashule faces several charges of corruption, fraud, theft and money laundering over his alleged involvement in the R255 million Free State asbestos audit contract.
"You guys said we must have our day in court, I'm waiting for the court. They keep on postponing," the ex-Free State premier said outside court.
Magashule, who is appearing along with 10 other individuals and five companies, is facing 21 counts of fraud and corruption.
His co-accused include controversial businessman Edwin Sodi; Free State human settlements department head; Nthimotse Mokhesi, the department's supply chain management director, Mahlomola Matlakala; Johannesburg businessman Sello Radebe; Pretoria businessman Abel Kgotso Manyeki; former national Department of Human Settlements director-general Thabane Zulu; and Olly Mlamleli, the former Free State Human Settlements MEC and erstwhile Mangaung mayor.
Another three Free State provincial government officials were arrested by the Hawks on Thursday and are also expected to appear in court.
Several ANC leaders, including the party's Women's League president and former cabinet minister Bathabile Dlamini, Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina and national executive committee member Dakota Legoete were refused access to the court, along with several members of the media, as only five media houses have been granted entry.
Legoete accused the government of degenerating into a dictatorship in the name of Covid-19.
Former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo and former cabinet minister and ANC MP Des van Rooyen are among Magashule's high profile backers present in court.
Magashule's supporters began gathering early on Friday, with more than a dozen buses and minibuses parked at the Kingsway Rose Garden, where a night vigil had been planned for Thursday.
The buses were ferrying Magashule's supporters from Gauteng, North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo.