Ace Magashule’s hand in ATM

Ace Magashule denies association with the African Transformation Movement.
Ace Magashule denies association with the African Transformation Movement.

While Magashule vehemently denies association with the African Transformation Movement, Buyisile Ngqulwana claims the ANC secretary-general was part of the founding cabal

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule was not only instrumental in the finer details that went into the planning and formulation of a rival political party, the African Transformation Movement (ATM), but he went as far as donating R141 000 towards its establishment.

Magashule allegedly used Dots Design Agency, an integrated communications solutions agency, to facilitate the payment that assisted in the formation of the ATM.

This is according to a responding affidavit by Buyisile Ngqulwana, former general secretary of the SA Council of Messianic Churches in Christ, who was also a member of then African Transformation Congress (ATC), which later changed its name to the ATM.

Ngqulwana was responding to a R500 000 defamation lawsuit filed by Magashule with the Free State High Court last month.

In his founding affidavit, Magashule challenged submissions made by Ngqulwana to the Electoral Court, where the latter claimed that Magashule was involved in the formation of the ATM.

Ngqulwana approched the Electoral Court challenging the registration of the ATM by the Electoral Commission of SA and therefore the legitimacy of the political party.

In the responding affidavit filed on Friday, Ngqulwana argues that Magashule “financially supported the formation of a political party [the ATC] that would serve as a political mouthpiece for the SA Council of Messianic Churches in Christ when he was premier of the Free State.

“I met with [Magashule] in 2017 for the first time in his capacity as premier to solicit funds for research to be done for the establishment and development of a political party,” said Ngqulwana.

According to him, the meeting with Magashule happened at the latter’s offices in Bloemfontein, after which Ngqulwana was directed to the former premier’s director-general to finalise payment.

This allegation is without any factual basis. It is completely false. In fact, I have never met the first respondent [Ngqulwana], nor have I ever spoken to him

This version is in direct contrast with Magashule’s founding affidavit, in which he denies ever being involved in the formation of the ATM or even knowing Ngqulwana.

“This allegation is without any factual basis. It is completely false. In fact, I have never met the first respondent [Ngqulwana], nor have I ever spoken to him,” wrote Magashule.

He also argued that Ngqulwana “proffered no evidence whatsoever to support the allegations he has made against me” and requested that the high court declare all allegations as defamatory and false.

Magashule added that his application was brought against his accuser in an attempt to vindicate the dragging of his name through the mud.

Speaking to City Press on Friday, Ngqulwana stood firm on his allegations, saying that “pursuant to that discussion with Magashule, an amount of R141 000 was thereafter paid into our account for the benefit of our foundation, the African Transformation Foundation”.

Explaining why he understood that Magashule had facilitated the payment, Ngqulwana said the funds came through Dots Design Agency, which boasts, among other entities, the Free State, the department of sports and recreation, Emfuleni Local Municipality, the City of Tshwane and the Road Traffic Management Corporation as some of its current and former clientele.

“The payment of R141 000 assisted with the costs of the formation and registration of the political party,” he said.

Describing how Magashule came to be so instrumental in the formation of the ATM, Ngqulwana said: “Plans to establish a political party/organisation gained traction after the 54th National Conference [of the ANC], following the election of ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa.”

Read: An ANC commission or squabble for control over ATM?

He said “discussions in this regard started in December 2017 in KwaZulu-Natal at former president Jacob Zuma’s residence”, adding that he was part of the discussions.

“In attendance were people who had supported Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (NDZ) … They considered her an option to lead the ANC.”

Ngqulwana alleged that further discussions took place in East London, which were centred on “how to protect those who saw themselves as NDZ supporters and were facing the possibility of losing positions under the new administration led by Ramaphosa.

“Among those in attendance in that meeting was [Magashule],” wrote Ngqulwana.

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