Magashule’s backers urge him to apologise

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Magashule faces criminal charges for his alleged role in an asbestos looting scheme. Photo: Gallo Images
Magashule faces criminal charges for his alleged role in an asbestos looting scheme. Photo: Gallo Images

POLITICS


The 20 ANC men and women who make up the powerful national working committee (NWC) meet tomorrow for the first time since the party’s suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule announced that a decision on whether he would apologise for unilaterally suspending President Cyril Ramaphosa would be informed by the courts.

The more radical wing of the group supporting Ramaphosa wants the ANC to be decisive on the matter and act against Magashule, irrespective of the court application.

They argue that his decision to involve the courts does not hold water and that the ANC should not be stunted by the move.

READ: Ace: I do not fear expulsion

Magashule’s bombshell decision to “suspend” Ramaphosa dropped soon after he was served with a letter of temporary suspension on the grounds that he had failed to step aside until the criminal charges against him were cleared by the courts.

He has argued that the letter was written a few days before he was removed from office.

Magashule faces criminal charges for his alleged role in an asbestos looting scheme, which cost the Free State provincial government up to R255 million while he was the province’s premier. His tenure ended in 2018, when he was elected to office in Luthuli House as secretary-general.

The matter is due back in court in August.

After ANC officials met on Monday, a statement issued by the party did not mention the implications of Magashule’s non-compliance with the national executive committee’s (NEC) instruction that he publicly apologise to the ANC’s structures and members within 48 hours. That deadline expired last week.

If he fails to do so, read Ramaphosa from the statement after the last NEC meeting, “the ANC will institute disciplinary procedures in accordance with the ANC constitution”.

I spoke to a lot of people who also felt that he should apologise and continue to fight the step-aside matter separately.
Ace Magashule ally

City Press learnt that the matter “will be on the agenda” of the NWC, which is responsible for the day-to-day running of the party under the guidance of the NEC.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe promised to provide clarity earlier this week, but none has been forthcoming. However, he cautioned that the matter could be in abeyance, since Magashule wanted the court to rule on it.

Another insider said their understanding was that Magashule had appealed all the decisions against him, including the terms and conditions of the step-aside rule.

A close ally of Magashule told City Press last week that he had been advised to apologise so that he could avoid fighting battles on many fronts.

READ: Magashule: NEC decision ‘rivals worst dictatorships ever witnessed on the planet’

“I spoke to a lot of people who also felt that he should apologise and continue to fight the step-aside matter separately.

“That’s a separate issue and we must isolate it. Let him issue that apology because that matter [might sidetrack us from the main issue]. Then he can continue to challenge the step-aside rule,” the source said.

Tony Yengeni. Picture: Lulama Zenzile

In the NWC, there are also two staunch Magashule backers – Tony Yengeni and Dakota Legoete – who, at the last NEC meeting, questioned whether even-handed action was being taken against all those implicated in corruption and other crimes.

Yengeni appeared outside the court in Pietermaritzburg during former president Jacob’s Zuma corruption trial this week, where he declared: “We’re going to take these people toe-to-toe inside the ANC.”

Speaking after Yengeni, Magashule defiantly declared: “Nobody under [this] democracy will ban me. Nobody will remove the ANC from me – nobody. I will not form any party – I will die in the ANC. We were there during the struggle. I will never leave the ANC. I will never be banned from the ANC.”

Mabe told the media this week that the NWC and the upcoming NEC meetings would reflect on what had happened outside the courtroom.


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Setumo Stone 

Political Journalist

+27 11 713 9001
Setumo.Stone@citypress.co.za
www.citypress.co.za
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park

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