Analysts believe that if the Secretary-General of the African National Congress (ANC) Ace Magashule is arrested, it will most likely be a huge problem for the party. They say politics may be at play in the latest developments surrounding Magashule and the Hawks.

On Tuesday, reports emerged that Magashule would be arrested by the Hawks in connection to the controversial Vrede Dairy Farm project in the Free State. The Hawks have, however, rubbished such reports saying it’s fake news.

It’s alleged that he is to be charged for failure to exercise oversight relating to the Vrede Dairy Farm project which cost millions of taxpayers’ money. At the time Magashule was the Premier of the Free State.

In the past week, law enforcement agencies have been cracking down on cases of fraud and corruption and have made several high profile arrests.

Magashule’s lawyer, Victor Nkwashu, says he has since written to the authorities to confirm if the reports of the warrant of arrest are true.

“As you would know that there is also a unit called the Independent Directorate within the office of the NPA headed by advocate Cronje, they have not responded and we have an instruction to engage with advocate Batohi, advocate Cronje, as well as the Hawks to find out if this article has any truth into it.”

Political analysts weigh in on the matter:

Magasule’s political home has echoed the same sentiments and will only comment fully when they have gathered all the facts.

ANC Spokesperson Pule Mabe says, “He can just clarify the fact that there are rumours doing rounds of an imminent arrest. What he has done was to ask his legal team to write to the National Prosecuting Authority to establish the authenticity of these rumours of imminent arrest. Once the ANC has gathered and established all the facts, the organisation will be able to make a pronouncement on the matter fully.”

The Hawks have denied issuing the warrant of arrest.

Spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi says, “The Hawks would like to categorically distance itself from the news report. We are not aware of any warrant of arrest that has been issued against Mr. Ace Magashule.”

Political Analyst Professor Somadoda Fikeni suggests that this may be a calculated move with political motives.

“What we are seeing as developments around the imminent arrest of the ANC SG Ace Magasule, as well as the denials around the NPA and Hawks that there’s such, might just be a very complex political play in which Ace Magasule might realise that the net around him is getting very small in a sense of people around him, especially around the Free State in many cases that Estina Diary Farm and asbestos that he might ultimately be one of the people targeted. So, he might be preempting this by making sure that he alerts and mobilises politically and also test waters as to how the reaction will be. ”

Ongama Mtimka, another political analyst, agrees with Fikeni.

“On one level, we should celebrate as the country that the actions of law enforcement agencies happen despite the signaling of ANC factional tactics. For example, recently there has been an attempt to try and neutralize this process of cleaning up. So, it’s good that these agencies, that once they believe they have evidence against certain people, they take action against them.”

Meanwhile, a group that calls itself the RET Champions and the ANCYL in the Free State have come out in Magashule’s defence, condemning what they say appears to be a use of state machinery to silence and score political points.

They are led by ANC Youth League Provincial Secretary, Regan Booysen.

“As the ANCYL in the Free State, we believe they have orchestrated cases in fighting the battles and factions within the ANC. We are actually saying this is a political fight within the movement. People are using state organs to fight political battles. ”

The Hawks say more corruption-related arrests are on the cards.

Last month, the ANC confirmed that Magashule, and party President Cyril Ramaphosa would both appear before the Integrity Commission.