Ace Magashule appeared before a court in November over the corruption charges

One of the most high-ranking officials of South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) has been asked to step aside pending the outcome of a multi-million corruption case against him, local media report.

Party secretary-general Ace Magashule has denied any wrongdoing over the awarding of a $16m (£12m) government contract in 2014 to private firms for the removal of asbestos from low-cost homes in Free State province.

The party’s integrity commission – in a report to the ANC’s top leadership body, the national executive committee – said the rules requiring party members who are facing formal corruption charges to step aside pending the outcome of court processes must be followed, according to reports.

The executive committee will have a final say on the report.

Mr Magashule is the most senior ANC official to be charged with corruption since President Cyril Ramaphosa took office in 2018.

The alleged corruption took place when Mr Magashule was the head of the provincial government in the Free State.