Some Free State residents relieved following asbestos scandal high-profile arrests

Ace Magashule, who is also implicated in the asbestos corruption case, was released on R200 000 bail on Friday.Some residents of Odendaalsrus in the Free State say they are relieved following the high-profile arrests in the multimillion rand asbestos corruption scandal.

The would-be beneficiaries of the R255 million tender say they’ve been living in appalling conditions for years. ANC Secretary-General, Ace Magashule, is the eighth person to be charged for his alleged role in the irregular awarding to the asbestos roofing assessment and audit tender in 2014.

Residents of the sprawling township of Kutlwanong, Odendaalsrus, say their health continues to deteriorate because of inhaling asbestos. Some say they’ve lived in the asbestos-roofed houses for more than 50 years.One of them is 58-year-old, Galeboe Sesana.

“My parents passed away, but I’m still living in that house. But the house, when I paint the paint falls. Even now I’m drinking TB tablets and I do want someone to help to overcome this.”Puleng Ntholi (64) echoes the same sentiments.

“This roof, it affects my health because I struggle to breath properly. Also the rain comes in because there is leakage on the roof.”Magashule, who is also implicated in the asbestos corruption case, was released on R200 000 bail on Friday.

The tender was awarded when Magashule was Free State premier.Magashule is among eight people and five companies, who face several charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering, which relates to the alleged irregular audit tender.

Some Free State residents say they are happy that justice is finally being served.“I feel happy because justice must serve the law so that we can see really what is happening with corruption,” says one resident.“Even if they buy expensive cars it’s still fine, but they should start with the work.

I am happy that there are arrests made into this,” says another resident.The lucrative tender was awarded to the joint venture – Blackhead Consulting and Diamond Hill Trading. Blackhead is owned by Edwin Sodi while Diamond Hill was owned by the late Ignatius “Igo” Mpambani.The accused will be back in court in February.