Ace Magashule hands himself over to Hawks, as allies gather
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule has handed himself over to the Hawks at their offices in Mangaung, Bloemfontein.
Supported by ANC senior member Bongani Bongo and former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo, Magashule’s convoy drove into the building just after 8.10am on Friday.
He will be processed before being transported to the Bloemfontein magistrate’s court where he will appear on corruption charges.
Speaking outside the Hawks offices, Mahumapelo, who is one of Magashule’s strong allies spanning back to the days of the “premier league,” said he believed the former Free State premier was innocent.
“We know that today the secretary-general is appearing in court, so we are here to show support for him as our leader, as somebody who we believe in his innocence,” Mahumapelo said.
“But we are also here to show leadership, to say we must respect processes of the law in South Africa ... that as leaders, as members of the organisation, we’re here for him.”
Mahumapelo confirmed he was with Magashule inside the Hawks offices.
Magashule was on Tuesday served with a warrant of arrest in relation to alleged corruption on a R255m asbestos tender awarded to businessman Edwin Sodi in 2014.
A contingent of his supporters held a night vigil at a nearby park overnight and are expected to march to court.
They believe Magashule’s charges are politically motivated.
More senior ANC leaders, including Tony Yengeni, are also expected to show their support for Magashule.
A small group of Outa members held a mini protest outside the Hawks offices.
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ANC SG Ace Magashule has arrived at the Hawks offices in Bloemfontein. He is being processed before heading to court where faces charges of corruption related to the R255m asbestos tender.— Kgothatso Madisa (@kgmadisa) November 13, 2020
ANC senior leaders Supra Mahumapelo and Bongani Bongo are here supporting him. pic.twitter.com/682bcs92rX
We are outside the Hawks offices in Bloemfontein where ANC SG Ace Magashule is expected to hand himself over at any minute from now.— Kgothatso Madisa (@kgmadisa) November 13, 2020
ANC MP Bongani Bongo was spotted having breakfast at one of the hotels this morning. ANC NEC member Tony Yengeni is also expected to be here. pic.twitter.com/scGDUEwzex
On the sidelines, a metro police officer was seen bumping into a disabled man. He got out of the car and immediately shouted at him: “re a shesha mo”. The officer is part of the convoy expected to escort Magashule to court.
Meanwhile, many ANC members in the Free State said they were disgusted by the decision to “mobilise the structures of the movement to support comrade Ace Magashule during his court appearance on Friday”, saying this flew in the face of a decision from the party's national office bearers.
“It is our contention that the secretary-general of the ANC faces charges in his personal capacity and in no ways related to his membership of the ANC or his responsibility in the movement,” a statement — signed off by Ike Moroe, Tshidi Setai and Deon Leeuw — on Thursday read.
It continued that the support for Magashule “mocks the plight of the communities who are being cheated of their health and wellbeing by the scandalous asbestos roofing rehabilitation project”.
“We believe our movement is landing itself on course for renewal and the spurious efforts to support people appearing on corruption charges only serve to supplant that renewal effort,” they said.