Suspended African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Ace Magashule has denied that he is seeking to contest the presidency of the party against Cyril Ramaphosa in 2022, saying it is up to the branches to nominate candidates.
Magashule, who is facing fraud and corruption charges but has refused to step aside from the SG position until his name is cleared, was speaking during an exclusive interview with SABC News on Friday.
Magashule says his sole ambition is to improve the lives of people. “I never had any ambition. In 2012 they wanted me, provinces to be Deputy President and we said let’s remain in provinces, we’re happy. The most wonderful opportunity to have actually occupied that position. My ambition has been to work with our community, change the lives of our people. I hate people who said to me I want to be president.”
Exclusive conversation with suspended ANC Secretary-General, Ace Magashule:
Magashule maintains that the character of the ANC is changing, where voting is replacing internal consensus mechanisms.
He also claims the party is moving away from traditional allies like Cuba, Russia and China. He has decried factionalism in the ANC.
“The ANC character is being changed and I won’t go down, comrades, as part of those who want to change the character of the ANC, the people’s movement. It’s not the organisation of leaders. People say ‘let’s vote.’ People use their power to say we summarise. No, it has never happened in the ANC. This is in an NEC of special meeting, ‘let’s call a meeting next week. We give you seven days comrade to resign.’ The people who give me seven days are the people who received the money in their accounts.”
ANC officials to hold urgent meeting to discuss Ace Magashule:
‘Can’t be banned’
Magashule also rejected the possibility of him being expelled from the ANC at a key NEC meeting this weekend, saying he “can’t be banned.”
Responding to a question of whether he was worried about being expelled over his letter to ANC president Ramaphosa, allegedly sent without consulting the ANC’s top leadership, informing the president that he, Ramaphosa, had also been suspended.
Magashule has further alleged that no legal processes were followed by the NEC in his suspension and that the top leadership of the governing party should rather have exhausted internal processes in dealing with differences.
Mabuyane denies claims against him
Meanwhile, the premier of the Eastern Cape, Oscar Mabuyane, has again denied claims levelled against him that he received money from municipal contracts via a third party in 2019.
In the interview with the SABC, Magashule claimed that a certain Mr. Bam paid the money into Mabuyane’s account. Mabuyane’s spokesperson, Mvusi Sicwetsha, says the Eastern Cape premier submitted himself voluntarily to the ANC Integrity Committee and he was cleared on the allegations.
Sicwetsha says this is seen as an attempt to damage Mabuyane’s reputation. “He is worried by the fact that at the time we are dealing with the situation of state capture, Mr Magashule makes these reckless remarks, claims that he cannot prove. And Mr Mabuyane is looking at all options, including legal action to make sure that Magashule takes responsibility and accounts for the misinformation and defamatory statements that he has made against Mr Mabuyane.
“He has not received money from Bam. He has not benefitted from any money that is suspected or that is coming out of municipalities, corruptly or in a fraudulent manner. All the things he has done, he communicated to the ANC and is now exploring all the legal options available to him,” Sicwetsha explains.