The figure of the ruling party is accused of corruption in a public contract case from his time as governor of Free State province.
Rumors of a possible arrest warrant for Ace Magashule had been circulating for weeks. On Tuesday, police confirmed that the arrest warrant was signed. They also announced that the ANC’s secretary-general is expected to appear in court on Friday.
The charges against him date back to 2014. They relate to an asbestos removal contract worth about $15 million in a deprived area of Free State province.
Ace Magashule was campaigning Tuesday in a Soweto township to prepare for the upcoming elections when the information was relayed by the press. The ANC secretary general told journalists present at the event that he had not yet been notified of the arrest warrant, and claimed his innocence. He said he was “ready for all eventualities”, noting that the “enemy” has infiltrated the ruling party.
Within the increasingly divided ANC, Ace Magashule comes from a faction that has remained close to former president Jacob Zuma and opposes that of current president Cyril Ramaphosa.
A series of repeated scandals have tarnished the ANC’s reputation and weakened an already divided party and this arrest warrant is going to further deepen its division.