Tue, 24 Nov 2020

"We are calling for our secretary-general, Ace Magashule, to step down".

These were the words of a group of ANC Free State members who converged on Luthuli House, the party's headquarters, to demand "corrupt elements" be flushed out.

Party members, who said they were affected by the beleaguered asbestos and Estina dairy farm projects, were calling on the top six to root out corrupt leaders in the party, especially Magashule.

While waiting on top ANC officials to hand over their memorandum, they sang, "Limene mene makahambe" (He is a liar, he must leave).

The protest was organised shortly after reports emerged this week an alleged warrant of arrest would be executed against Magashule. The Hawks have denied the existence of such a warrant.

Last month, Olly Mlamleli, a formidable ANC leader with political reach that stretches to Luthuli House due to her close relationship with Magashule, was the first political leader to be arrested by the Hawks.

She was among seven individuals arrested on 60 charges related to corruption, fraud, money laundering and theft. The charges related to the R255 million beleaguered asbestos project.

She was released on R100 000 bail.

Mlamleli, who stood as accused number 12, face charges for contravening Section 4(a) of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act relating to money laundering and failing to report corrupt transactions, extortion, forgery or uttering a forged document, the 39-page indictment read.

Magashule as well as Mlameli's role in the asbestos project was documented in Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's report.

She found serious maladministration, gross negligence of fiduciary duties, and misappropriation of public funds to the tune of R208.6 million during the watch of then-premier Magashule and then-human settlements MEC Mlamleli in the asbestos housing contract.

The contract was awarded to the Gauteng-based Blackhead Consulting and Diamond Hill Trading joint venture in 2015.

News24 previously reported the farm, gifted to Estina in 2013, under a free 99-year lease by the Free State agriculture department, was one of the most scandal-plagued transactions between the controversial Guptas and a government entity.

Source: News24

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