A top official of South Africa’s governing African National Congress party handed himself into police in Bloemfontein early on Friday, TV news channels eNCA and SABC reported, after an arrest warrant was issued for him on Tuesday.
Ace Magashule, who is the secretary-general of the ANC, in charge of the party’s day-to-day running, is expected to appear at a magistrate’s court in the city at 0800 GMT, South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said in a statement.
One of the ANC’s “top six” most powerful officials, he faces corruption charges over allegations related to a contract to audit houses with asbestos roofs awarded while he was premier of the Free State. Magashule says he has done nothing wrong.
The ANC, which has governed South Africa since the end of white minority rule in 1994, has not asked Magashule to step down because of the allegations.
The streets around the magistrate’s court in Bloemfontein, the capital of the Free State province and the judicial seat of the country, had been cordoned off from midnight in anticipation of protests from Magashule’s supporters.
Television footage showed a scattering of supporters in the streets of the city, some of whom burned yellow ANC t-shirts with President Cyril Ramphosa’s face on and called on the president to step down.
Magashule is from a faction within the governing party that has opposed Ramaphosa since he replaced Jacob Zuma as head of state in February 2018. Ramaphosa has pledged to clean up the ANC’s image and take a tough stance on corruption.