Ace's ANC vs Cyril's ANC

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ANC General Secretary Ace Magashule addresses the media on the outcomes of a national working committee (NWC) meeting at the partys headquarters at Luthuli House on February 26, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sowetan / Alaister Russell)
ANC General Secretary Ace Magashule addresses the media on the outcomes of a national working committee (NWC) meeting at the partys headquarters at Luthuli House on February 26, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sowetan / Alaister Russell)

"We treated our entrepreneurs and businesspeople… like enemies, and white monopoly capital, and all that. That must end today." – President Cyril Ramaphosa, 26 October 2018

"We cannot allow a few of us to be co-opted into the power structure of the (mainly white) rich, while many (indeed most black and African people) still remain poor. We cannot defeat White Monopoly Capital by allowing it to co-opt us." – Ace Magashule, 18 May 2019

Anyone still claiming that the ANC is united under President Cyril Ramaphosa must please explain how the two people quoted above can claim to work towards the same goal in the same organisation.

Reading ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule's speech from the weekend's Walter Sisulu memorial lecture, watching the hero's "welcome" of Lindiwe Sisulu into the ANC Women's League and listening to the attacks on the Zondo commission by Magashule's storm troops made one thing abundantly clear: Ramaphosa's got mutiny on his hands.

The ANC is now clearly divided between the Ramaphosa camp which champions economic growth, non-racialism and anti-corruption, and the Magashule camp which champions conspiracies, victimhood and blames white people for all the country's ills.

Magashule is now in open defiance of the ANC president as the party goes into its crucial national executive committee (NEC) meeting where the composition of the next ANC will be discussed.

Ramaphosa has to deal with Magashule, decisively and soon.

The former Free State premier, who is himself deeply implicated in years of state capture and corruption, is on a mission to besmirch Ramaphosa's name and efforts to rebuild South Africa.

The Magashule who spoke at the historic Waaihoek Methodist Church in Bloemfontein where the ANC was formed, was the same Magashule who supported and aided the Gupta family in their plunder of South Africa and particularly the Free State.

Those who may have thought the WMC and radical economic transformation (RET) playbooks died with Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's defeat at Nasrec in the race for the next Cabinet must think again. Magashule sang from the exact hymn sheet that was created for the Guptas and former president Jacob Zuma by Bell Pottinger on Saturday when he spoke in memory of one of the greatest leaders ever produced by the ANC.

What a shame.

What makes the depravity even worse was the fact that Sisulu's daughter, Lindiwe, was looking on, endorsing the spectacle and abuse of her father's name to further the cause of those who want to undermine and derail Ramaphosa's clean-up project.

Sisulu took umbrage when I wrote in this column last week that my sources have intimated to me that she may have teamed up with the Magashule gang to topple Ramaphosa. It's no secret that Sisulu is still hurt after Ramaphosa appointed DD Mabuza as deputy president of the country.

Remember that Sisulu was the Ramaphosa slate's candidate for deputy president at Nasrec, but after a last-minute deal with Mpumalanga's Mabuza, he won the ticket and also ascended to the second-highest post in the land.

After this weekend I have even more reason to believe Sisulu is part of the project to undermine Ramaphosa. How do you sit on a stage and listen to speaker after speaker slamming the work of the Zondo commission and the country's brave journalists?

How do you do nothing when speaker after speaker declares war on Magashule's enemies and call on his critics to be "crushed"? And then be "welcomed" into the ANCWL by an ecstatic Bathabile Dlamini, who embodies the lost Zuma era?

Magashule's diatribe against WMC on Saturday was clearly aimed at Ramaphosa. When he says "a few of us" have been co-opted by white business, he means Ramaphosa. More specifically, Magashule was probably referring to Ramaphosa's business breakfast with Goldman Sachs last week during which he assured investors that expropriation without compensation would be handled with the greatest care and sensitivity.

Magashule isn't interested in nuance solutions. He is a populist, only interested in saving his own skin. He has learned well from his mentor, Zuma; play the victim, stoke the conspiracies and blame white capital for all your problems.

Magashule is in big, big trouble. There is a real chance that he will be arrested and charged when the National Prosecuting Authority's state capture prosecutions finally kick off.

Magashule and his mentor need to neutralise Ramaphosa's power before the state capture trials begin. Who will be first?

- Basson is editor-in-chief of News24.

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