The DA in the Free State has expressed relief that ANC secretary-general and the province’s former premier, Ace Magashule, would have his day in court over 21 charges of fraud, money laundering and corruption.
This after Magashule was on Friday granted R200,000 bail by the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court after he handed himself over to the Hawks on charges relating to the R255 million asbestos project in the Free State.
DA Free State MPL Leona Kleynhans said the party was relieved that Magashule “will, at last, appear before the court for the pain and suffering he has brought for over 32,500 families who still live in houses with dangerous asbestos roofs in the Free State”.
Magashule is due back in court on 19 February 2021, along with his co-accused in the matter.
Kleynhans said: “These are the families we must keep in mind when we hear in the coming months about the wheelings and dealings of the various officials and cronies, and their jostling for portions of the loot which was extracted from the Free State department of public works and human settlements in the name of these poor people.
“It was the fake concern for the wellbeing of these disadvantaged people, which provided the justification for this looting.
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“When we hear about the luxury cars purchased and the palaces built which were bought with money from state coffers, we will remember those who contracted asbestosis and tuberculosis to fund these extravagant lifestyles.”
Kleynhans said the party hoped that Magashule had reached the end of his impunity.
“He will have to explain how, even if he was not involved in the planning of the scheme, he failed to act when he had learnt about the monies being laundered out of the government coffers.
“He will have to explain how he was involved in the many other corrupt schemes which were implemented in the Free State, such as the Vrede Dairy Project, the Ramkraal scheme, the dozens of other fake agricultural schemes, the overseas student bursary schemes, the destruction of Agriqwa and the Free State Development Corporation, as well as the donations of state properties to cronies.”
Kleynhans said it was shameful that the ANC had not spoken out against Magashule and that the governing party’s “refusal to suspend him as [secretary-general] speaks volumes on the party’s stance on corruption”.
“The ANC have, to date, also not been clear on how they plan to handle Mr Ace Magashule and Mr Bongani Bongo’s corruption charges. Whilst Ace Magashule remains the only high profile ANC cadre facing corruption charges, the DA wants to see others within the governing party following suit, as it remains clear that the organisation is corrupt to the core.”
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Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu
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