‘I have done nothing wrong’: Ace Magashule after corruption trial appearance

19 February 2021 - 12:06
Ace Magashule waves at his supporters after appearing in the Bloemfontein magistrate's court on Friday morning.
Ace Magashule waves at his supporters after appearing in the Bloemfontein magistrate's court on Friday morning.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi/The Sunday Times

Proclaiming his innocence, ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule on Friday said he hoped the court matter against him and 10 others would soon be concluded.

Speaking to media from the steps of the Bloemfontein magistrate’s court after the postponement of his court case, Magashule said: “We hope for a speedy trial because justice delayed is something else.”

He added “we are looking forward to August 11,” referring to the date set down for the next court proceedings.

“I’ve done nothing wrong. I will prove it in court,” Magashule said.

LISTEN | 'I have done nothing wrong': Ace Magashule after corruption trial appearance

With a large police contingent present amid hundreds of his supporters who had travelled from all around the country to show allegiance to the former Free State premier, Magashule was cautious not to join his supporters in breaching Covid-19 regulations which prohibit political gatherings.

Magashule left the courthouse, entered a vehicle and drove around the streets, standing out of the vehicle’s sunroof to wave to the crowds, some of whom were not properly wearing their masks.

The office of the provincial police commissioner “took note” of the illegal gathering and confirmed a case under the Disaster Management Act had been opened against the organisers.

“Earlier during the day, people were warned and made aware that under the act they are gathering illegally, by way of failure to wear masks in public as well as not keeping social distance,” said Brig Motantsi Makhele.

“After situational analysis and calculating the risks associated with dispersing crowds, a decision was taken, as guided by the law, to open a case under the Disaster Management Act against those who organised this illegal gathering.

“The provincial commissioner has already instructed the district commissioner for Mangaung metro to put a team together to gather all information and make sure the case is tabled before court as soon as possible.”

Magashule was reluctant to comment on whether the seven-month postponement of the court case would have any effect on his political standing.

Addressing reporters, he said the ANC national executive committee (NEC), whose guidelines state that those facing criminal charges must step aside pending the finalisation of their cases, would decide his future.

The NEC is the party’s highest decision-making body in between conferences.

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