South Africa: House of Cards - the Curious Case of Ace Magashule's Upmarket Pad

ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule (file photo).

In 2015, then Free State Premier Ace Magashule had to quash a minor controversy over issues with building regulations at a new R6-million house in Bloemfontein. At the time, Magashule claimed he was financing the construction project with a bank loan. But that wasn't the case, while documents and source accounts point to the involvement of contractors rumoured to be close to the then premier.

One of South Africa's largest gated communities sits on a 1,000ha slice of land some 12km north of downtown Bloemfontein.

The Woodlands Hills Wildlife Estate, where some of the grander properties sell for around R6-million, is home to some 4,500 of the city's more well-to-do citizens. Woodlands' residents enjoy access to hiking and bicycle trails, tennis courts and bowling lawns, complemented by the novelty of having giraffe, zebra and several species of antelope wander freely between the double-storey homes.

In October 2010, one Mosidi Lydia Motsemme paid R400,000 for an empty stand near the estate's northern boundary. According to records at the Deeds Office, Motsemme bought the property without a bank loan. At the time, she worked as a government official in the Free State provincial legislature.

If Motsemme's name sounds familiar, it is probably...

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