Ace Magashule. Picture: THULI DLAMINI
Ace Magashule. Picture: THULI DLAMINI

SA’s elite crime-fighting unit the Hawks have distanced themselves from reports that ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule is going to be arrested.

This followed a report by Independent Media on Tuesday night that a warrant of arrest had been issued for Magashule. It also reported that the ANC secretary-general had “confirmed knowledge of his intended arrest”.

Magashule told TimesLive that he had instructed his lawyers to contact the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to verify rumours of his pending arrest.

Magashule said neither he nor his lawyers had been formally informed of plans to arrest him. However, the ANC secretary-general told TimesLive he had heard a rumour there was an intention to arrest him.

But the Hawks said in a statement it viewed the report by Independent Media as a “malicious intent to undermine the integrity of the organisation”. 

The reports of Magashule’s arrest come after the Hawks swooped on a number of people last week in connection to allegations of state capture and evidence heard at the Zondo commission.

This included Edwin Sodi, the businessperson whose company was awarded a controversial R255m asbestos removal project tender, and former ANC MP Vincent Smith, who was charged for corruption and fraud related to Bosasa.

It is expected that Magashule could face charges in relation to the Vrede dairy farm matter.

This scandal saw at least R250m of taxpayers’ money meant for emerging black farmers in the small town of Vrede in the Free State, where Magashule was premier at the time, flowing to a Gupta-linked company, Estina. Some of the loot was allegedly used to settle the bills for the Guptas’ lavish family wedding at Sun City in 2013.

In 2019, the state capture commission heard how Magashule and Mosebenzi Zwane, who was then Free State agriculture MEC, were aware of irregularities taking place in the project but still allowed for substantial payments to be made towards the programme.

The Estina case was taken to trial by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in 2018 when members of the Gupta family and some of their associates were arrested. However, the NPA had to later drop what was seen as its hallmark state capture case. 

The NPA’s investigating directorate, however, is still working on the Estina matter and looking to reinstate it.

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