The second most senior official in South Africa’s ruling party ANC, Mr Ace Magashule was granted bail on Friday after he appeared before the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court over fraud.
Amidst protests from the ruling party supporters that swammed outside the court. More than a thousand people clamoured outside the court Friday morning demanding to be let in.
As the hearing went on, Magashule was charged with 21 counts of fraud, corruption and money laundering.
According to court reports, the conditions of bail prevent Masgashule from making contact directly or indirectly with his former personal assistant Moroadi Chalota who has turned state witness.
His lawyer Lawrence Hodes noted that the charge sheet does not mention his taking any money for himself.
Magistrate Amos Moos pointed out the inconsistency of Magashule appearing in the dock unshackled.
He stressed that his decision on bail has nothing to do with Magashule’s position in society.
Prosecutor Johann de Nysschen said Magashule was not handcuffed because of the degree of cooperation by the accused who turned himself in to the serious crimes squad known as the Hawks for arrest.
Meanwhile, the ruling party is divided over this case. It has people demanding justice and an end to corruption and those alleging that the charges against Magashule are politically motivated by President Cyril Ramaphosa who has never wanted him as the party’s secretary general.