Explainer: Why is Ace Magashule’s personal assistant being extradited from the US

Former ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule and his personal assistant Moroadi Cholota. File Pictures

Former ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule and his personal assistant Moroadi Cholota. File Pictures

Published Apr 16, 2024


More than two years after the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) applied for the extradition of suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule's former personal assistant Moroadi Cholota from the US, the process may begin soon.

The NPA confirmed this week that Cholota was arrested by US authorities and was expected to have appeared in a US court on Monday.

“The state will commence with the extradition process as soon as possible, to have her back in South Africa,” said NPA spokesperson in the Free State, Mojalefa Senokoatsane.

Magashule, a former ANC secretary-general, is facing 21 counts of fraud, money laundering and corruption relating to a R255 million asbestos contract in 2014.

It is alleged the Free State Department of Human Settlement awarded the contract to the Blackhead Consulting joint venture, to audit, assess and remove asbestos from homes in some of the Free State’s poorest areas, about seven years ago.

The State alleges that fraud to the value of R255m was committed in the appointment of two companies, one from Gauteng, Blackhead Consultants, in 2014 as service provider to the Department of Human Settlements in the Free State for the ’assessment and removal of asbestos roofs and/or housing, IOL reported.

“The two companies sub-contracted two other separate companies of which one allegedly did the work for only R21million,” NPA spokesperson Sipho Ngwema said in 2020.

“An amount of R230m was paid to the initial contracting company and Edwin Sodi, the director of the company, Blackhead Consultants, who is still attempting to secure in court the ’remaining’ payment of the rest of the money, which is R25m,” said Ngwema.

The pre-trial conference is expected to begin in June.

Magashule is out on R200,000 bail.

Who is Moroadi Cholota?

She worked as Magashule’s personal assistant during his tenure as Premier of the Free State.

Following Magashule’s arrest, Cholota was supposed to be a State witness in the trial, but apparently backtracked and will now face the same charges.

What is she doing in the US?

She is said to be studying and living there on a student visa, according to previous reports.

Why does the NPA want her extradited?

She is expected to appear alongside the other co-accused in the asbestos matter, possibly facing the same charges of fraud and corruption.

In November 2021, in an explosive letter, Cholota revealed how she was grilled by the FBI and the Hawks to reveal her former boss Magashule’s alleged corrupt affairs, IOL initially reported.

The letter was drafted by her legal representatives.

She alleged that she learnt she would appear as a State witness in the criminal trial via newspaper articles.

This week the NPA told IOL that all they know is that Cholota has been arrested in the US.

“On what charges, that information has not been provided at this stage. As soon as we are furnished with the information pertaining to this matter, the Prosecuting Authority will issue a press release on the matter.”

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