Jessie Duarte’s family dismisses Ace Magashule’ claims she ‘kept secrets’ about ANC

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ANC Women's League singing at the memorial service of Jessie Duarte at Johannesburg City Hall. Photo: Tebogo Letsie/City Press
ANC Women's League singing at the memorial service of Jessie Duarte at Johannesburg City Hall. Photo: Tebogo Letsie/City Press


Jessie Duarte’s family has slammed suspended ANC secretary general Ace Magashule’s suggestion that she shared secrets about the organisation with him.

Duarte, who passed away on Sunday after battling pancreatic cancer, was first elected deputy secretary general in 2012 in Mangaung, Free State, and was re-elected in Nasrec in 2017.

READ: Jessie Duarte remembered as a servant of the people 

Her brother Abbas Dangor said people should not use her name to advance their own agendas. Dangor was responding to reports that Duarte had divulged some secrets to Magashule, which he said he would reveal soon.

“We ask some sections [of the population] to respect the legacy [of my sister] and the family ... they must not use her to advance your own agendas. There’s been media reports widely published about Jessie divulging secrets and we all know if Jessie wanted to say something, she would say it upfront, she wouldn’t divulge anything,” said Dangor.

He said some people may want to use this as an opportunity to besmirch her name or use it to advance their own agendas.

“We implore that you stop [doing that] for your sake and for our family’s sake,” he pleaded.

Speaking during a visit to Duarte’s home this week, Magashule said:

She shared many secrets with me. Before her passing, she wanted me to share some of them with the public. I was supposed to see her in the intensive care unit, her personal assistant called me and said she wanted to see me.

“Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to [visit her] and she passed away. Perhaps in the coming weeks, I can take some of the things she said and allow them to come out. With respect to the dead, you don’t actually say some of the things she said in confidence. She said ‘please keep some of these. These are the secrets of the movement. If these secrets come out, there is no more ANC’.”

Dangor described his sister as a compassionate person: “Those who describe her as feisty, she was more than that. She was a strong, independent, purpose-driven, kind and compassionate person and an absolute social justice warrior who could sometimes be feisty too.”

He said Duarte and her then husband John took him and his brother Zane when they were 11 and nine years old. “They didn’t have much but shared everything with us. I know the sacrifices they made to raise myself, Zane and her kids Zoe Whitley and Yusha Duarte.

“I know the sacrifices she made to the extent where she denied her two children a comfortable upbringing. And for that, we will forever be grateful,” he said.

July 21.2022. ANC Womens League singing at the mem
Attendees at the late ANC secretary general Jessie Duarte's memorial service. Photo: Tebogo Letsie/City Press
July 21.2022. ANC Womens League singing at the mem
ANC deputy president David Mabuza with party spokesperson Pule Mabe. Photo: Tebogo Letsie/City Press

ANC Youth League convener, Nonceba Mhlauli, remembered Duarte as an activist and a champion for the youth, women and violence against women and children.

“We had a rocky relationship with her because of a leader that she was,” said Mhlauli.

She said Duarte never treated them in the youth, but always as equals even when addressing them. “This showed how strong a woman she was,” said Mhlauli.

Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi said Duarte’s death had robbed her from concluding her work. “We were hoping that you will come back [to work] after your medical leave but you didn’t, not because you didn’t want to but because you could not,” said Losi. 

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