Yesterday, the South African Police issued an arrest warrant for ANC General Secretary, Ace Magashule, over allegations related to irregularities in housing contracts from his time as Free State Premier.
Magashule’s arrest would have massive political ramifications for South Africa and his party, the ANC, which has been on a mission for months to stamp out corruption in the country. Following a report in The Daily Maverick breaking the news of the warrant being issued for Magashule’s arrest, Hawk’s spokesperson in the Free State province, Lynda Steyn, confirmed that Magashule was expected to appear in court on Friday.
“He hasn’t been arrested as yet but the warrant has been signed,” Steyn told Reuters.
She also confirmed that the warrant has been issued over allegations related to a contract to audit houses with asbestos roofs awarded while Magashule was premier of the Free State.
Ace Magashule, himself, spoke of his arrest while campaigning in Soweto, saying that he’s not worried about the warrant and that he’s done nothing wrong.
“If it happens, it will happen, so I’m not worried at all,” he told eNCA reporters. “I haven’t done anything wrong as a law-abiding citizen.”
Meanwhile, analysts and experts around the world have reacted to the news and the political ramifications for President Ramaphosa, the ANC, and the country as a whole.
Former ANC Minister, Derek Hanekom, said that President Ramaphosa is “doing exactly what the constitution demands [and] applying the law without fear or favour.”
“No one is above the law. Innocence can be established in court. Or guilt. But a fair hearing is guaranteed,” Hanekom told The Guardian.
“He is a very powerful individual and there have been allegations of corruption swirling about him for years. It is an important moment for the rule of law, and … sends a powerful message,” said governance expert, Judith February. “There is a lot of evidence in the public domain, and that makes the arrest feel perfectly legitimate. The ANC is rotten but hopefully this is the start of a clean up. But it will take a very long time.”
Meanwhile, the ANC issued a statement, saying that it will be “monitoring developments very closely and will accordingly communicate on any update should the need arise.”