Case against me a ‘waste of time’ says Ace Magashule

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency (ANA)

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Apr 15, 2024


Former ANC Secretary-General, Ace Magashule, has called the case against him and 17 other co-accused in the R225 million asbestos scandal a “waste of time”.

Magashule and businessman Edwin Sodi, alongside 16 other accused including companies, are facing more than 70 counts of corruption and money laundering.

This relates to the alleged irregular awarding of the R255m asbestos roof removal contract in the Free State in October 2014.

Magashule, alongside former human settlements MEC Olly Mlamleli and others, face charges of fraud, corruption, money laundering and contravention of the Public Finance Management Act.

Over the years, the State has alleged that between June 2015 and January 2016, Magashule either received or benefited from unlawful payments of more than R1m from a company owned by the late Phikolomzi “Igo” Mpambani, who was allegedly shot dead in Sandton in July 2017 in a suspected hit.

Magashule spoke to eNCA following the postponement of the trial to June 14 and the recent arrest of her former PA, Moroadi Cholota, who was arrested in the US at the weekend.

In November last year, Cholota, allegedly struck a deal with Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) that she would turn herself over after a warrant of arrest was issued against her in 2021.

She faces at least five charges, including fraud and corruption, stemming from the failed 2014 project.

“The case was postponed for more than a year. Today my lawyers were ready but the State always comes with excuses. The State always come with information late. I think it is a waste of time. We are not supposed to be here but let justice be done. You can see politics and you have seen the story about the American embassy. You can see the involvement of the Americans. When the case started, you remember what they said about the Americans,” Magashule told eNCA.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) regional spokesperson Mojalefa Senokoatsane confirmed that Cholota was arrested in the US at the weekend and is set to appear before the court on Monday.

“As the NPA and the DPP’s office in the Free State, we confirm that Cholota was arrested this past weekend in the US and she is expected to appear in court this morning in America,” he said.

“It seems to me that the arrest of Ms Cholota, the illness of Ms Mlamuleli, and the absence of Mr Roux as well as the legal situation of accused 5, Diamond Hill Trading 71, necessitate a postponement of the matter,” the judge said.

In 2022, Magashule and his co-accused tried to challenge their prosecution, but the High Court in May 2022 dismissed the matter.

They subsequently took the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), but in May 2023, the SCA followed suit and dismissed the matter, with costs.

Senokoatsane denied claims that the NPA is deliberately sabotaging Magashule’s political career by applying delay tactics on the asbestos trial.

“As the NPA, we pride ourselves in prosecuting without fear, favour of prejudice. So, (in) this matter, we believe that there’s a case that the accused needs to answer to,” he said.

The Star