WATCH: Supporters arrive in Bloemfontein for night vigil ahead of Ace Magashule’s court appearance
While ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule is preparing for his court appearance on Friday, hordes of his supporters have made their way to Bloemfontein for a night vigil.
By Thursday evening, bus-loads of people arrived in Rose Garden Park.
A few hundred people were seen carrying ANC flags with some wearing ANC regalia while singing struggle songs, referencing Magashule.
The night vigil has been titled “hands-off Magashule”.
It is expected that hundreds of other supporters of the former Free State premier will make their way to Bloemfontein from Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
The vigil and the marches have apparently been organised by the ANC Youth League.
Vincent Morris, an ANC member from Welkom, said he was attending the vigil and the protest outside the court to support “his father”.
Morris said the charges against Magashule were unfounded and that the media had already branded Magahsule as guilty.
"The charges that are being laid against Ace Magashule are politically motivated. You are not guilty until found guilty in a court of law. I will stand by him. We are here to have a night vigil in support of comrade Ace Magashule," Morris said.
In preparation for Magashule's appearance in court, some streets in Mangaung will be closed off for traffic at midnight as it is anticipated that thousands of people will be on the streets.
Magashule has been served with a warrant of arrest by the Hawks related to his alleged involvement in the R255 million Free State asbestos project matter.
He was one of several suspects arrested in connection to the 2014 tender.
Magashule met with fellow top six members on Tuesday and briefed them on his pending court appearance.
ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte said on Wednesday in a media briefing that Magshaule had made it clear that he does not want anyone printing his name on t-shirts and protesting in his name.
He was adamant that he was prepared to see out the charges, Duarte said.
Duarte and ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile said the party would not stop its members from supporting Magashule as individuals, but not using the party's name.
Magashule had also not offered to step aside from his position, Mashatile said.