ANC Head of Elections Fikile Mbalula (Picture: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Veli Nhlapo)
Claims by ANC secretary general Ace Magashule that state organs were used to tap his cellphone and that of his deputy, Jessie Duarte, were "reckless", ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula has said.
Mbalula was speaking at a media briefing at the party's headquarters, Luthuli House, on Thursday about the party's readiness for its final rally on Sunday.
He said Magashule's allegations suggested that the party and the state had gone back to old ways of using state organs for political battles.
"We are not focused on that and the ANC is working very hard to undo what was wrong in the past and obviously such an allegation will either stand or fall, depending on what we do. What we are doing now is to ensure we have state organs that are capable, that are doing their jobs and are supported by government."
Magashule told journalists in the Free State last week that he believed some were using state organs to spy on him. He said he was certain that taps on his phone had intensified as the May 8 elections approached. However, he refused to be drawn into speculation about who he suspected of spying on him.
Responding, Mbalula said it was reckless for Magashule to assume it was the state tapping his phone.
"You can be tapped by anyone – by your enemies. You can be tapped by anyone who has got an interest in you. It is not only the state. There are rogue elements out there who are tapping people.
"To make allegations all the time that the state is being used, you have got to back it up with empirical evidence and not just being reckless because you undermine the rule of law and then you undermine the authority of the state organ."
Mbalula added that it was unfortunate that Magashule had made his statement publicly instead of alerting the party.
READ: Inspector general of intelligence confirms a preliminary probe into Magashule's phone tapping claims
"The state can follow anyone if ever you have allegations of corruption, and they don't need your permission. The ANC does not have the capacity to deal with things outside the rule of law. It is the Inspector-General [of Intelligence] who decides if there are allegations that must be followed up."
Mbalula added that Magashule's claims did not signal internal squabbles.
"We are focused. We are building our party, we are addressing deep-seated disunity. All the allegations [Magashule] is making, and unfortunately he had to make them in public, the leadership is dealing with them."