Ace Magashule, the Secretary General of South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC), is due to appear in court later in the city of Bloemfontein.
The high ranking ANC official is accused of corruption over the awarding of asbestos contracts in 2014 when he was the head of the provincial government in Free State.
Magashule, who is in charge of the day-to-day running of the ANC which has governed South Africa since the end of white minority rule in 1994, said he is not worried as he has done nothing wrong.
The $16m (£12m) contract was issued to private firms for the removal of asbestos from low-cost homes, but it is alleged that there were kickbacks and suspicious payments.
His supporters have gathered outside the magistrate’s court ahead of his appearance.
Magashule is from a faction within the ruling party that has opposed President Cyril Ramaphosa since he replaced Jacob Zuma as head of state in February 2018.
Ramaphosa has been on a campaign to clean up the ANC’s image after a series of damaging scandals during Zuma’s nine-year tenure. Since Ramaphosa supporters engineered Zuma’s ouster, Magashule has urged ANC members to support the former president.
The president promised to tackle corruption and promote good governance when he took office, describing his predecessor Jacob Zuma’s time in office as “nine wasted years”.
Magashule catapulted on to the national political stage when he was elected ANC secretary-general in 2017 after narrowly defeating a candidate allied with Mr Ramaphosa.
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