Arrest warrant issued for ANC SG Ace Magashule over Free State asbestos saga

Illustrative image | sources: ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule. (Photo: Gallo Images / Sunday Times / Alon Skuy) | Director of Blackhead Edwin Sodi. (Photo: Gallo Images/Luba Lesolle) | Free State Asbestos Audit report | Adobe Stock

A warrant of arrest has been issued for the ANC’s secretary-general, Ace Magashule, in connection to the R255-million asbestos audit contract in the Free State. Magashule is expected to appear in court this week. Scorpio brings you this exclusive. 

ANC secretary-general and former Free State premier Ace Magashule is set to be arrested and charged over his alleged role in the Free State’s R255-million asbestos audit contract.

Scorpio can reveal that a warrant of arrest has been issued for Magashule and that he will face several corruption-related charges in connection with one of the more contentious contracts the Free State provincial government awarded during his time as premier.

A joint venture between businessman Edwin Sodi’s Blackhead Consulting and the late Igo Mpambani’s Diamond Hill Trading 74 clinched the lucrative asbestos audit contract from the Free State’s department of human settlements (FSHS) in 2014. Sodi and other businesspeople linked to the deal have already been arrested and charged, along with several former government officials.

Scorpio understands that Magashule will make his first appearance in the Bloemfontein High Court on Friday and that he has been given an opportunity to voluntarily present himself to the authorities.

We have learnt that he faces multiple counts of alleged transgressions provided for in the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (Precca), among other corruption-related legislation.

It is understood that some of these charges relate to payments made to certain third parties with the proceeds of the contract, allegedly on Magashule’s instruction.

Magashule’s alleged role in the asbestos saga was first exposed in this reporter’s book, Gangster State.

It was revealed that Magashule’s then PA, Moroadi Cholota, had instructed Mpambani to make payments to third parties and that this was seemingly done on behalf of her former boss.

In August 2015, for instance, Mpambani used some of the proceeds of the asbestos contract to settle the student fees for the daughter of then acting high court judge Refiloe Mokoena. Her daughter had been studying at a college in the United States.

Leaked emails and documents showed that the request for the funding was first directed to Magashule, whose PA, Cholota, then forwarded the funding request to Mpambani.

Cholota sent her email to Mpambani only one day after the Blackhead Consulting-Diamond Hill joint venture received one instalment of R36.5-million from the province’s human settlements department. A few days later, Mpambani transferred about R51 000 to the US college.

An earlier email from Cholota to Mpambani also implicates Magashule.

“Following the discussion with Ipeleng Morake [another former staffer in Magashule’s office], Premier requested that you pay full amount of R470 000 and the remaining amount of R30 000 to one of the SRC President[s] in Cuba,” Cholota wrote to Mpambani in May 2015.

The decision to charge Magashule is a breaking development.

Daily Maverick and Scorpio will update our reporting on the issue once we’ve obtained further details. We’ll include comment from Magashule or his legal representatives should they wish to make a statement. DM

Update at 2.55 pm: The Free State Hawks confirmed to Newzroom Afrika that a warrant of arrest had been issued for Magashule.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Garth Kruger says:

    Here we go …. at last! A big fish

  • Karin Eriksson Eriksson says:

    Finally. May this indeed be the start of the beginning of the end.

  • Andrew Wright says:

    Cannot wait to hear the response to this “Hollywood” style article – it is all to preditable

  • Rocco Carr says:

    At last…

  • Meirion Griffiths says:

    Pieter-Louis Mybergh – every honest, decent, hard-working citizen owes you big time! World-class journalism!

  • Sergio CPT says:

    Bring this kingpin down and the rest will follow. This Zuma no 2 is the face, leader and chief scoundrel of the fight back movement. This could be the game changer that SA desperately needs!

  • Guy Young says:

    He must be denied bail. He may be a big fish but big fish are very slippy.

  • Helen Swingler says:

    Expect revelations. No-one (at the feeding trough) goes down alone. Well done, Daily Maverick, Pieter-Louis Myburgh. We need our valiant reporter/sleuths.

  • Alley Cat says:

    Best news in a long time.. Can’t wait for the allegations of racism and WMC from his defenders and.. and And ESPECIALLY from the virtuous Carl the clown…
    Let’s just hope it is the first of many even bigger fish and I echo the congratulations to Mr Myburgh and the NPA / Hawks. I have faith in Ms Betohi and felt for her and her team when everyone was criticising the lack of action.

  • Case Rijsdijk says:

    Indeed at last. But what about the Estina Farm project – he was involved in that too wasn’t he?

  • Mary Davidson says:

    Brilliant work!


    Woo hoo – at last! Let’s hope justice is served properly!

  • Francois Myburgh says:

    Magashule says he’s not worried. Well, he should be worried. Very, very worried.

  • Patrick O'Shea says:

    Bravo Pieter-Louis Myburgh! Let’s hope we will see a few dominos falling from now on.

  • Michael Thorpe says:

    Well done, great news…

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    Lets hope this is a fast and sure arrest and journey through the courts. Zuma next?

  • Guy Young says:

    He must be denied bail.

  • Case Rijsdijk says:

    Will he now stand “aside”?

  • Sarel Van Der Walt says:

    Reading between the lines: while he may have technically broken the law & facilitated corruption, he may not have personally benefited financially from the corruption (though it may have been in increased power/influence). The NPA will have a big challenge to win this in the court of public opinion (eg in Botshabelo & Puthaditjhaba) if that is his main defense.

  • Coen Gous says:

    Pieter-Louis, surely this is NOT fake news. But if it is not, Magashule will possibly employ the cream of advocates, with costs to be paid by the ANC (and by definition the government and thus the tax payer). Like with Zuma, this case, as with any other high profile cases, will take years. Nevertheless, at least one credible journalist efforts starts to pay off. Now, what about Pauli van Wyk articles about the EFF leaders, and off course, Jacques Pauw’s relevations.

  • Piet Potgieter says:

    Fantasties! Thank you Pieter-Louis & authorities. Fitting that you broke the story!!

  • Sam Joubs says:

    Getting nervous Jacob?

  • Pierre Steynberg says:

    Oxfam says there 15M people facing hunger in SA. We need an independent commission against corruption with a three fold approach … education, prevention, prosecution.

  • David A says:

    Enter Carl Niehaus, stage left.

  • Patrick Veermeer says:

    First: credit to Pieter-Louis Myburgh and DM; second: I (like many across the battle-weary country) fervently hope that the NPA has done it’s homework; third: strength to Batohi and Cronje.

  • Peter Dexter says:

    I agree with other comments; this is a big fish and I sincerely hope the NPA has a big gaff and a net as a backup. The case must be watertight or the fish will escape. If they are successful in landing it, I’m sure the evidence will reveal a flood over other fish just ready for harvesting. The outcome of this could very easily have a significant effect on the direction SA takes.

  • Graham Anderson Anderson says:

    I too agree with all the comments posted thus far. Roll on Estina et al and please, please ensure the case/s are watertight.

  • Zan-Pierre Beetge says:

    Pieter and DM, thank you for your hard work, its been years of digging and exposing. Thank you for your service to this country. When Ace falls know that you were instrumental.

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    Please stop calling this guy “ACE”! His name is Elias.

  • Scott Gordon says:

    As Sarel mentions below , one thing maybe hard to prove is that Elias actually benefited .
    Somewhat easier , perhaps , is to show he failed in his job and was aware of corruption .
    Which , in some places makes him just as guilty .
    Will he now appear before the ‘integrity commission’ a total misnomer ?
    Or even step aside , while on full pay and perks ?
    Not holding my breath.
    Once you open a can of worms , not easy to close and some escape .
    Next would be the ‘dairy project’ 🙂
    A missing masterpiece next .
    How big is the can ?

  • Alan Wassung says:

    Has “Ace” really been arrested………..yet?
    Just another story, leaving the reader uninformed about just another corrupt politician, playing the legal system for all its worth.
    Lets face it, for all convincing hard work put it by the investigative journalists, the public (and the journalists) remain unrewarded by these slippery fish who have mastered the art of staying out of jail.

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