The corruption case of suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule on Tuesday has been postponed to November 3, 2021 for a pre-trial hearing.
Magashule and his 15 co-accused appeared briefly at the Bloemfontein High Court, but the case was postponed to allow lawyers for some of the accused to consult with their clients.
Magashule and the co-accused, 10 individuals and five companies, face over 70 charges including theft, corruption and money laundering in connection with a R255 million asbestos roof eradication tender.
Magashule, controversial businessman Edwin Sodi, former Mangaung mayor Olly Mlamleli, former human settlements head of department Nthimotse Mokhesi and others appeared in the Free State High Court in Bloemfontein on Tuesday.
The contract is alleged to have been irregularly awarded by the Free State provincial government in 2014 when Magashule was the province’s premier.
Magashule claims he is innocent and the charges against him are spurious. Earlier, speaking to journalists before his court appearance, he complained about the slow pace in getting the case to trial.
Magashule said he was eagerly awaiting to testify in the trial in order to prove his innocence.
“I want to be in the box so that South Africans can know what is happening in this country,” he said.
Meanwhile, the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said the prosecution was ready to proceed with the corruption trial.
Mhaga said “On our part as the prosecution, we believe that we have a formidable case [and] we have witnesses to testify in order to sustain these charges, and we have always been ready to proceed in this matter”