- ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule has deflected attention from criticism that his sons were benefitting from state tenders.
- He hit back saying there were no ANC leaders who had not done business with the government.
- He insisted there was no law halting his sons from doing business with the state, and if it were to be introduced, he would not be opposed to it.
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, who has come under fire for his children benefiting from lucrative tenders, has sought to shift the attention away from himself by pointing to other party leaders whose families have done business with the state.
Amid mounting criticism that families of ANC politicians were benefiting from government emergency procurement during Covid-19, Magashule insisted that there was no law prohibiting this.
He told News24, during a sit down interview on Thursday, that no such decision was ever taken by the ANC since coming into power in 1994. He further explained that there were many other leaders in the party who had also done business with the state.
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"Tell me of one leader of the ANC, who has not done business with government... you are looking at [just] government; [other] people are working with banks," said Magashule without mentioning names.
While Magashule insisted there was no law preventing family members of politicians from landing state contracts, he would not oppose a resolution barring relatives of party leaders from doing business with the state.
His sons, Tshepiso and Thato, who featured in a trove of information relating to how the notorious Gupta family dished out trips and benefits as it carried out a looting spree of South African resources, have once more come under the spotlight, this time in relation to Covid-19 procurement contracts.
Last week it emerged the two were among a growing list of family members linked to ANC leaders who had been awarded contracts to provide personal protective equipment.
Madzikane II Diko, the husband of President Cyril Ramaphosa's spokesperson Khusela Diko, and national executive committee member Nomvula Mokonyane's daughter Katlego Mokonyane both scored tenders with Gauteng's health department; while a relative of the deputy minister in the presidency Thembi Seweya received an R800 000 contract from Limpopo health.
"People are going to say I am defending myself that's why I don't want to create that impression. I don't want to enter into that space where I am defending myself and my children. My children are adults, they are not even staying with me," said Magashule, as he declined to speak about the details of the matter.
Magashule said he would support legislation specifying who could do business with the government.
"If the law is made for all of us and everybody, I will abide by such a law. Our kids and ourselves would know that there is legislation - which bars, your children, your family from doing business [with the state].
"If that law is passed in South Africa, I think it will assist," said Magashule.
The ANC secretary-general dismissed an argument recently made by NEC member Mondli Gungubele who wanted ethical considerations to matter more than legal requirements when it came to the issue of children of leaders in the governing party conducting business with the state.
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"I hate these individuals, who talk their individual positions when they are defeated by the views of the majority," said Magashule.
News24 understood that this was one of the issues which led to ferocious discussions during the ANC's weekend NEC meeting, with a number of leaders pointing fingers at each another as they grappled with corruption, which continued to plague the governing party.
Magashule, often linked to numerous claims of corruption relating to the Guptas' state capture era, called on law enforcement to leave no stone unturned in the battle against graft.
He reiterated the ANC's stance that it was "embarrassed" by acts of corruption. He said no matter the person involved, the crime-fighting institutions needed to pursue them.