In an extraordinary breach of normal protocol, ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule used official ANC channels late at night on Wednesday 24 July to issue a stunning public attack on party NEC member and former Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom.
The statement came on the back of allegations made by the EFF on Tuesday, claiming that Hanekom had met with EFF MPs ahead of the 2017 parliamentary vote of no confidence in former president Jacob Zuma to mobilise support for Zuma’s ousting.
Hanekom has since confirmed that a meeting with EFF secretary-general Godrich Gardee did take place at the time in question, but downplayed its significance.
In an SMS to News24, Hanekom wrote: “I have said — not admitted — that at the time I met Gardee. His initiative, not mine. There is nothing with meeting a fellow MP, which is what we were at the time.”
Magashule’s statement, clearly written in some anger, is headlined:
“Statement of the African National Congress on the confession by ANC NEC member comrade Derek Hanekom.”
In full, the statement reads:
“The African National Congress is dismayed by its National Executive Committee Member Derek Hanekom’s confession that he did have several meetings with the opposition EFF to indicate that he and other ANC MP’s would support the EFF vote of no confidence last February against Former President Jacob Zuma.
Hanekom had full access to air his acerbic views in the NEC of the ANC, he did so ad nauseum. He always spoke in an even, practiced voice, linking all the bad publicity that the ANC has had to the accusations against former President Zuma.
The ANC called for an open vote and it is Hanekom and others who put pressure on the Speaker to accede to the demand by the EFF for a secret ballot.
The agenda of the EFF by their own admission as an opposition party is to displace the ANC, they work fearlessly to divide the ANC and have a number of sleepers in the ANC proactively ensuring that divisions in the ANC are deepened.
The ANC is working to unite its members and in our midst is Derek Hanekom a wedge driver and on a mission to divide the ANC. Indeed this charlatan is making his mark through his ownership of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation. Hanekom does not have the capacity to form a new political party, but he has shown remarkable agility in his efforts to divide the ANC.
Well we say to him and other EFF sleepers in the ANC, this only makes the members of the NEC, PEC REC and branches more determined to unite the ANC and deliver services to the people of South Africa.
We will ride this storm of accusations, and counter accusations.
We will unite behind the leadership of President Ramaphosa and all ANC members of good faith and defeat the nefarious negative actions of Hanekom.”
The statement was sent out shortly before midnight via the ANC’s media WhatsApp distribution group, in circumstances of some confusion: it was deleted and re-issued three times, apparently to correct spelling mistakes in each incarnation.
Media inquiries were directed to the ANC’s national spokesperson Pule Mabe, who was not answering his phone shortly thereafter.
Just a few hours previously, Mabe had appeared on SABC news to comment on the matter in a remarkably different manner.
Mabe urged caution on the issue until further details were confirmed, saying that the ANC had only been made aware of the situation through media reports.
Indeed, Mabe framed the issue as an unwelcome diversion from more important issues.
“Talking about Derek Hanekom meeting the EFF, how does that help the people of Alexandra who want houses?” Mabe asked.
“We can’t allow opposition parties to dictate the agenda.”
Mabe said at the time that the ANC’s NEC was due to meet this weekend and would discuss the issue then.
But Magashule, his boss, clearly had different plans. DM