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Magashule claims injustice in delayed asbestos case

───   KEKELETSO MOSEBETSI 10:28 Wed, 17 Apr 2024

Magashule claims injustice in delayed asbestos case  | News Article
Ace Magashule in the Bloemfontein High Court. Photo: Kekeletso Mosebetsi

“A poor girl is just studying there, the state said she is a state witness and when she refused to be coerced into signing the statement she was then charged.”

Former ANC Secretary General and ACT leader Ace Magashule has raised concerns over what he perceives as injustices surrounding the continued delays in the controversial R255 million asbestos case.

Magashule has responded to the arrest of his former personal assistant, Moraodi Cholota, who was apprehended in America over the weekend. The pre-trial hearing, initially scheduled for Monday (15/4), was postponed once again – this time to 14 June.

This delay, attributed to Cholota’s arrest and the absence of legal representation for some accused companies, has exacerbated tensions surrounding the case. Former Free State Human Settlement MEC Olly Mlamleli was also absent from the Bloemfontein High Court on Monday after submitting a sick note.

‘Magashule has maintained his innocence in the matter’ 

Cholota is expected to join 18 other accused after her arrest. Free State and Northern Cape NPA spokesperson Mojalefa Senokoatsane confirmed the plans are in place to bring her back to South Africa before the pre-trial date.

The ongoing saga surrounding the asbestos case has continued to attract attention, not only due to its magnitude but also because of its political implications. Magashule has consistently maintained his innocence in the matter. The continued postponements and recent developments, including Cholota’s arrest, add fuel to the fire of controversy.

“A poor girl is just studying there. The state said she is a state witness and when she refused to be cohered in signing the statement she was then charged. What an injustice. She’s supposed to be finishing her studies this year, alone in a foreign country. I’m sure that’s a bit tough for her,” he said.

Magashule also spoke out against what he perceives as deliberate attempts to undermine him and his associates, lamenting the prolonged legal proceedings and the impact of the delays on them. He alleged the organs of the state are being misused to target him and others associated with the case.

‘South Africa think we are corrupt’

“Why can’t they just deal with this case and finish it? It’s (been) more than two years now coming here. People of South Africa think we are corrupt when they speak about asbestos, they talk about R200 something million, the money which in the public eye came to us.

”I have not even received or stolen a cent. It’s an injustice and I wish these organs of state were deliberately being used against us. We can’t even campaign.”

OFM News/Kekeletso Mosebetsi dg/mvh

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