The High Court in Bloemfontein has rejected appeals by suspended African National Congress (ANC) Secretary-General Ace Magashule and three others to have corruption allegations against them withdrawn in connection with an R255 million asbestos roof contract.
The allegations against businessman Edwin Sodi, former Human Settlements director-general Thabani Zulu, and former Free State Human Settlements head Nthimotse Mokhesi were based on evidence given before the State Capture Commission of Inquiry, they said.
Magashule said that the accusations leveled against him were politically motivated.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has expressed its gratitude for the decision, stating that it is confident in the strength of its case and that the evidence would speak for itself throughout the trial.
The pretrial hearing will begin on June 10th.
Magashule accused the NPA of wasting time and lying to South Africans during his previous hearing last month.
Magashule swears that he will clear his name.
Since then, Magashule has pledged to battle to the last end to clear his name.
Magashule also wants the prosecution to reveal the names of witnesses who have accused him, according to a story from December last year. His lawyers have accused the prosecution of lying about the participation of Moroadi Cholota, Magashule’s former personal assistant.
This came after the state declared that Cholota, who is based in the United States, would be arrested.
Cholota is accused of refusing to comply with law enforcement.
The asbestos roof removal contract, according to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, was not cost-effective.
More than 30 000 asbestos-roofed dwellings remain in the Free State.
Since then, the province’s Department of Human Settlements has committed to address the issue of asbestos-roofed homes.
Residents, especially military veterans, expressed dissatisfaction with the state of their homes less than a year after moving there during a Department visit to Hillside Extension in Mangaung.
More details in the report below: