South African police issue arrest warrant for top ANC official Magashule

By Alexander Winning and Emma Rumney JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African police have issued a warrant for the arrest on corruption charges of Ace Magashule, a top official of the governing African National Congress party, a spokeswoman for the country's elite Hawks police unit said on Tuesday. Magashule, who told reporters he had done nothing wrong, is secretary-general of the ANC, in charge of the day-to-day running of the party which has governed South Africa since the end of white minority rule in 1994. His arrest could have significant political ramifications if he has to take leave or resign from his influential position.

Reuters November 11, 2020 00:10:57 IST
South African police issue arrest warrant for top ANC official Magashule

South African police issue arrest warrant for top ANC official Magashule

By Alexander Winning and Emma Rumney

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African police have issued a warrant for the arrest on corruption charges of Ace Magashule, a top official of the governing African National Congress party, a spokeswoman for the country's elite Hawks police unit said on Tuesday.

Magashule, who told reporters he had done nothing wrong, is secretary-general of the ANC, in charge of the day-to-day running of the party which has governed South Africa since the end of white minority rule in 1994.

His arrest could have significant political ramifications if he has to take leave or resign from his influential position.

Confirming a report by local news website the Daily Maverick, Hawks spokeswoman in the Free State province Lynda Steyn told Reuters that Magashule was expected to appear in court on Friday.

"He hasn't been arrested as yet but the warrant has been signed," Steyn said by telephone.

Steyn confirmed the Daily Maverick's report that the warrant was issued over allegations related to a contract to audit houses with asbestos roofs awarded while Magashule was premier of the Free State.

Asked about the report, Magashule said he was not worried and that he had done nothing wrong.

"If it happens, it will happen, so I'm not worried at all," he told reporters in footage broadcast by eNCA television.

"I haven't done anything wrong as a law-abiding citizen," added Magashule, who was filmed while campaigning in the Soweto township for upcoming by-elections.

The ANC said it had learned of the arrest warrant through media reports and would monitor developments closely.

"The secretary-general (Magashule) stated on more than one occasion, including through his legal team, that he would cooperate with any process undertaken by law enforcement agencies," the party said in a statement.

One of Magashule's lawyers did not answer his phone or reply to a message.

Magashule is from a faction within the ruling party that has opposed President Cyril Ramaphosa since he replaced Jacob Zuma as head of state in February 2018.

Ramaphosa has been on a campaign to clean up the ANC's image after a series of damaging scandals during Zuma's nine-year tenure. Since Ramaphosa supporters engineered Zuma's ouster, Magashule has urged ANC members to support the former president.

In August, Ramaphosa said ANC officials must take leave from their positions if charged with corruption, and resign if convicted.

Another news report last month said Magashule's arrest was imminent, but the Hawks dismissed it at the time.

(Reporting by Alexander Winning and Emma Rumney; Editing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo, Jon Boyle and Catherine Evans)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.