South Africa


Ace: ‘I know some of the things that President Zuma might be saying’

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule. Photo: Leila Dougan / May 20, 2019 Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane argues for a permanent stay of Prosecution in the corruption charges against Former President Jacob Zuma in the Pietermaritzburg High Court . Picture: JACKIE Clausen/ Pool

Former president Jacob Zuma may be alone while testifying at the Zondo Commission but in the audience and outside he has many supporters, including ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule who attended the sitting on Tuesday.

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule attended the second day of former president Jacob Zuma’s testimony at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture on Tuesday 16 July.

Zuma faces questioning about whether or not he attempted to influence support in various government departments for the Gupta family as alleged by several witnesses who have testified at the Commission.

Speaking to the media during a tea break on Tuesday, Magashule said the Guptas should not be the only people or business that is investigated. He added that if anyone looks into what happens in government, they will find a number of businesses that work with the government.

I do not know why South Africa is not actually investigating every company which has done work with the government. Only one particular family company is targeted,” Magashule said.

It’s a comment that is often repeated by Zuma’s supporters.

Zuma himself diverted attention to the Rupert family during his first day of testimony, saying billionaire Johann Rupert had threatened to shut down the economy and interfere with the rand if-then finance minister Pravin Gordhan was removed from his position.

On the sidelines of Tuesday’s testimony, Magashule said the Commission needed to look into how some companies make an obscene amount of money while other, blackowned, business end up being exploited.

Big companies make billions while young black people’s companies get 20 projects worth R5million. There is no commission that has ever pronounced on that. South Africans are not stupid, we can’t be quiet forever, we must speak out,” Magashule said, without offering any proof for his assertions.

During his first day of testimony, Zuma claimed the ANC had been infiltrated by spies, one of them being former Cabinet minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi, who Zuma alleges was recruited when he was a student in Lesotho.

Zuma also told the Commission there had been many attempts on his life and that suicide bombers had been brought into SA to assassinate him. Another attempt was planned for March 2019 during an event at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, he said.

Magashule said these allegations were serious and could not be ignored. He told Daily Maverick that as a public figure, Zuma is never safe.

He has never been safe. There have been many attempts on his life, poisons and all that. He has never been safe at any given stage of his life.”

No case of attempted murder has been registered with the police.

Magashule said Zuma had informed the ANC that he would say things at the Commission that the party would not be happy about.

Some of us, unlike what the young boy wrote in the book (referring to Pieter- Louis Myburgh’s book Gangster State) have been around. I have been in all the national executive meetings,” Magashule said, in a transparent attempt to belittle Myburgh’s reputation.

Be it Mandela, Mbeki, be it Jacob Zuma and now be it our President Ramaphosa… I have been a member of the National Executive Committee of the ANC. So I know some of the things that President Zuma might be saying”.

Magashule was non-committal when asked how Zuma’s testimony was going.

It’s too early to say anything because people go to the Commission to say whatever they want to say. We called for the Commission, so let the Commission do its work,” Magashule told Daily Maverick. DM