In direct defiance of the conditions of his suspension, Ace Magashule on Friday night gave an interview to the public broadcaster, the SABC, and used the platform to declare that he was still the secretary-general and was “going nowhere”.
The conditions as outlined in his suspension letter barred him from carrying out his functions as secretary-general of the ANC and from representing the party, either publicly or in any other forum.
Magashule revealed that these were some of the concerns that he had discussed when he consulted with former president Jacob Zuma, who is also facing a jail term for his defiance of a subpoena to appear before the Zondo Commission.
Magashule, who was this week informed of his suspension through a letter sent to him by deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte, said he was “dismayed” by the letter and the stance taken by the party’s national working committee, which reaffirmed the decision taken by the party’s national executive committee (NEC) in March that all members who have been charged with corruption or other serious crimes must step aside within 30 days, failing which they should be suspended.
He said this step-aside resolution was now being used as a factional weapon particularly targeting him and those who shared similar views as he.
“The 54th resolutions clearly state that all members who are accused, implicated and charged, it doesn’t just say only members who are charged,” said Magashule.
He added that the NEC itself has been conflicted in this matter as “they have been the judges, the prosecutor, the jury and the evidence presenters because they are fictionalising the resolutions of a national conference” and in the process usurping what branches said at the ANC’s Nasrec conference.
Magashule cautioned that the NEC was a body tasked with “implementing party resolutions,” and not put in place to “change” said resolutions to effect changes to the leadership elected at conference.
The defiant Magashule maintained that he was elected to the position of secretary-general “by the branches of the ANC,” and will only be removed by the same branches.
He also alleged that behind closed doors, “the ANC top six have agreed” that the charges that have been brought against him by the National Prosecuting Authority were “frivolous”.
“The officials of the ANC [some in the top six] in our meeting even wanted to approach the court of law and appeal my charges and I said to them: ‘President, it would be wrong for a deputy president and a president to go there. So comrade Jessie [Duarte] and [ANC treasurer-general] comrade Paul [Mashatile] were supposed to approach the courts,” said Magashule.
He also alleged that the ANC was not listening to the branches who have, according to him, written “numerous letters’ to his office as secretary-general pleading with the ANC not to factionalise the step-aside resolution.
The visibly aggrieved Magashule questioned why allegations against President Cyril Ramaphosa, ANC head of presidency Sibongile Besani and Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane have not been asked to step aside while there were also allegations against them.
He went on to accuse the media of not placing as much interest in individuals aligned to Ramaphosa as much as there was interest in him.
Magashule also said there was a selective approach in the matter in which law enforcement was tackling allegations against certain politicians.
“The judiciary is biased, not all judges, but you want us to say the organs of state are not biased. I am being monitored all the time, my phone is bugged,” said Magashule.
He said the eventual goal was for him and those aligned to him to be jailed and “and one day you are in a police cell and then they poison you and then release you after three or four months you are dead”.