Johannesburg – A top member of the African National Congress Party governing South Africa made allegations of corruption in court on Friday, which is a rare sign that powerful members of the party can be taken into consideration. Endowment of public funds under former President Jacob Zuma.
Party General Secretary Ace Magashule was charged in 21 cases including fraud, money laundering and corruption in a court in Bloemfontein, the capital of the Free State province, where he led the government for nearly a decade. Mr. Magashule, who denies any wrongdoing, was released on bail.
Mr. Magashul is considered one of the ANC.Top six“- The most influential member of the party that has ruled in South Africa since the end of white minority rule in 1994. He oversees the party’s day-to-day, and his arrest could, in theory, push him to leave Is. Influential position.
But this case is profoundly consequential for both Mr. Magashule and the ANC. He is the most serving politician since Sirial Ramaphosa’s election to the presidency two years ago. In the fractured party, Mr. Magashule has emerged as Mr. Ramaphosa’s top rival, instead of throwing his support behind former President Mr. Zuma.
The charges against Mr. Magashule relate to a government contract to survey low-income homes built with asbestos. A contract worth 225 million rand or about $ 14.4 million was awarded in 2014, while Mr. Magashule was still the head of the Free State, but six years later, many residents say their homes were never checked or Improvements were not made. Prosecutors allege that the companies awarded the contract outsourced the work at a fraction of the original cost, and subsequently funneled millions into the accounts they accessed. Associate of ANC.
From petty charges to looting crores of state coffins, 13 people were implicated in a total of 13 and five companies. Prosecutors alleged that Mr. Magashule and other defendants stole $ 13.7 million of public money in one case. Prosecutors say Mr. Magashule also accepted $ 3,431 from a businessman who is facing court to pay the school fees of his personal assistant, Refilo Mokena, who now works as a witness for the state Has been doing. Another charge directed Mr. Magashule to pay $ 16,000 to a travel company for party members to travel to Cuba.
Mr Magashule arrived in court on Friday, without the legs usually worn by defendants, as thousands of supporters rallied outside. Dressed in a sharp suit, he gave a relaxed pose, smiling and posing for court photographers.
With the party facing public anger over the plunder of money for the victims Coronavirus epidemic By some party members and his colleagues, Mr. Ramaphosa has intensified the anti-corruption message in recent months. After winning internal party elections with promises of “A” new Dawn, “He has found his efforts to address the issue being continued repeatedly by his predecessor’s colleagues.
Government an estimate During Mr. Zuma’s tenure, at least 500 billion rand, or about 32 billion dollars, were stolen from systemic political corruption. Mr. Zuma is himself Facing corruption charges He brokered when he was vice president concerning the 1999 arms deal.
Mr. Magashule has been implicated in several previous corruption scandals. Probably the highest profile, Vrede Dairy Farm Case, $ 21 million intended to finance black farmers for ANC’s political allies rather than aid for aspiration. The episode was a symbol of widespread corruption during Mr Zuma’s tenure and the party alleged that the party had betrayed poor South Africa leaders. In that case, no charges were ultimately made against Mr. Magashule.
Although the allegations announced on Friday may take years to reach a conclusion, experts say they could represent a crossroads for the ANC
“There is a lot of contradictory noise about who the real ANC is – is it the cleaning ANC or the underlying corrupt ANC?” Said Professor Susan Boysen, a writer and professor at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. “This ambiguity of who and what the ANC is really on the bench – and the ANC continues to live and perform well because of this ambiguity.”
But the case has also drawn the emotional response of many members of the public. During his pre-war, pre-apartheid fighter, Mr. Magashule led the campaign to recruit tens of new, younger members to the party, and he remained a popular figure.
His supporters walked through the streets of Bloemfonetin on Friday waving banners with messages of support. Many of the ANC wore gold, black and green dresses or, in military bags, were a gesture to the party’s anti-apartheid roots.
Singing and singing apartheid-era liberation songs, a group took a huge cutout of Mr. Magashule’s head.
The message below reads, “You will never silence the roaring voice of the black majority.”