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Fikile Mbalula’s attack on Ace Magashule, AKA it’s still cold outside the ANC tent

Fikile Mbalula’s attack on Ace Magashule, AKA it’s still cold outside the ANC tent
Former ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule outside the Free State Division of the High Court in Bloemfontein during his pre-trial on 23 September 2022 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images / Volksblad / Mlungisi Louw) | Fikile Mbalula, Secretary-General of the ANC, at a press conference at Luthuli House on 3 January 2023 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images / Beeld / Deaan Vivier)

Public comments by the ANC secretary-general, Fikile Mbalula, claiming his predecessor Ace Magashule ‘ruined everything and the ANC in the Free State’, symbolise how the party is dealing with the State Capture era — it will blame only those who have left the party while refusing to deal with those still inside the party who have findings against them. This is yet another indication that the ANC’s commitment to fixing its biggest problem is paper-thin.

On Saturday, while speaking at an ANC event in the Free State, ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula made the claim (as reported by News24) that: “There was a lot of political inference in this area, which is why we had a split in this municipality. [Ace] Magashule ruined everything. He ruined everything and the ANC in the Free State, even the ANC. He taught people that working for the ANC is working for yourself and not the people. He taught them to steal money for themselves.”

Mbalula went on to claim that things have changed, so that: “If you steal, we will back you [to] step aside. Ask Magashule. We dealt with him, with [the] asbestos [scandal].”

This was a powerful comment from Mbalula and perhaps the strongest condemnation the former secretary-general has yet suffered from the party he was expelled from.

Of course, Mbalula and Magashule have a long history of not seeing eye to eye.

True, Mbalula did support then president Jacob Zuma in 2007 and the years afterwards, along with Magashule.

But, in 2017, he tweeted that he opposed Magashule being elected to the position of ANC secretary-general, saying, “Ace Magashule is a definite no no no, the man will finish what is remaining of our movement. He will kill it.”  

ANC Succession: Mbalula tweets slam Magashule

He confirmed that his account had not been hacked.

In 2019, this reporter interviewed Magashule at the election results centre about his claims that Cyril Ramaphosa had not been a big factor in the ANC’s victory that year. Strangely, Mbalula felt compelled to come and watch the interview. It appeared that he (and the current justice minister, Ronald Lamola) had come to ensure Magashule said what he was supposed to say. The impression certainly was that they were acting as Ramaphosa’s enforcers.

All of that said, it appears that Mbalula’s comments were an attempt to hold only Magashule responsible for scandals involving the ANC in the Free State and thus absolve the party from blame mere months before the general election.

Magashule was only able to operate as he did, in Mbalula’s words to “ruin everything”, because of the position of power he had in the ANC.

Back in 2009, Mbalula was a member of the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) that decided Magashule should be the premier of the Free State. He remained a member of the NEC in the years afterwards, during the State Capture era.

Role in State Capture

During this time, as was confirmed at the Zondo Commission hearings, the Guptas were the first to inform Mbalula, in 2010, that he would be moved to the sports ministry. But for years he did not make this knowledge public.

And Mbalula can hardly claim not to have played any kind of role in State Capture.

The Public Protector found that he had received a benefit of R680,000 from a sporting goods company while he was the sports minister.

It has also been claimed, under oath, that Mbalula was the first person to suggest the SAPS spend R45-million on a “grabber” device to intercept phone conversations during the 2018 ANC Nasrec Conference.

R45m ‘Nasrec grabber’ was Fikile Mbalula’s idea, claims National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole in court papers

Mbalula and many others were also part of the ANC that defended Zuma and by definition allowed the State Capture era to continue way past the point where it was obvious how devastating it would be for South Africa.

It should also be remembered that while the full extent of Magashule’s alleged corruption was not in the public domain in 2017 (this was before the publication of Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s book Gangster State and Mxolisi Dukwana’s testimony at the Zondo Commission), 2,360 delegates at Nasrec still voted to elect him secretary-general of the ANC. This was despite well publicised claims about him going back many years. 

His election was the choice of thousands of ANC delegates and branches.

Just based on that little detail, Mbalula and others are obviously wrong to blame the ANC’s problems in the Free State solely on Magashule. The record shows it was not him alone.

It should also be remembered that certain people against whom findings were made by the Zondo Commission still occupy important positions in the ANC and the government.

Gwede Mantashe was reelected as chair of the ANC in December and is also the minister of mineral resources and energy. This is despite a Zondo Commission finding that he received gratifications from Bosasa (he has filed legal papers against this finding).

David Mahlobo, found by the commission to have been involved in moving around large amounts of cash which are unaccounted for when he was minister of state security, is often on television screens in his role as deputy minister of water affairs and sanitation. He still publicly disputes the finding, but has not, as far as is known, challenged it in court.

There are way too many other similar cases and examples.

Meanwhile, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has had to complain in public that the State Attorney had not made proper arrangements to defend his findings in court.

If he had not made his own arrangements, those challenging his findings would have been able to win their cases without the government providing any legal representation to defend the findings (Justice Minister Ronald Lamola has indicated he is now trying to deal with the matter).

In other words, the government instituted the Zondo Commission and accepted its findings, but then failed to defend those findings. 

At the same time, Mbalula may be making these claims about Magashule for other reasons.

Magashule has formed a new political party, the African Congress for Transformation, with the aim of contesting next year’s elections.

And it was reported at the weekend that the “Weekend Special” finance minister, Des van Rooyen, was appointed to the board of the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller to stop him from working with Magashule.

In other words, some in the ANC have appointed him to a position where he will be paid with government money not to collaborate with Magashule.

Do we need to spell out that this is immoral?

It is also irrational, in that there is no evidence that Magashule, or any of those around him, will win much support in next year’s elections.

But there is also another message here.

While the ANC has failed to publicly condemn those in the party who were involved in State Capture, Mbalula is happy to condemn the one person who was involved in that project but has now left the party.

It appears that if you were involved in State Capture and stay in the ANC, no one inside the party will condemn you. The ANC  always looks after its own — it was like that from the Tony Yengeni days.

Despite the findings of the Zondo Commission and all of the promises of “renewal”, there is still no evidence that the ANC is ever going to deal with the people who enabled and participated in what its own leader called the “nine wasted years”. One has to wonder, how many more years will have to be wasted. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Paul Savage says:

    Why should it be the ANC party that should discipline these criminals? That’s why we have an NPC. But the NPC is so useless and/or compromised and/or captured that they take zero action against the politically powerful.

    • Roelf Pretorius says:

      I assume you meant the NPA. We have to keep in mind that they are busy prosecuting Jacob Zuma; and they actually did arrest Magashule also, as well as the ANC mayor of eThekwini that is in court at the moment. So I don’t agree that they don’t take any action against the politically powerful. Maybe they are not doing enough yes, but they are busy doing some things.

  • Jennifer D says:

    Reading these articles about what they ANC are up to, one is left with the impression that a bunch of children are running the country. “did you take a biscuit Johnny?” “No, Mom” with chocolate and crumbs on his face. Do they not see how ridiculous and transparent they are? They aren’t present, aren’t accountable and worse than that, they are inherently incompetent. We should not have to wait for an election to kick them out – they are beyond what any country should have to accept.

  • Nic Bosveld says:

    Thieves, liars, useless, all of them.

  • H K says:

    At the expense of being pc-the pot calling the kettle black?

  • Jimbo Smith says:

    He utters whatever comes to mind with little thought about consequences.

  • Vincent Britz says:

    The corrupt ANC government will never take any minister/politician to court while they in the good books of the top 6 of the ANC!
    And if the said minister/politician does end up in court, you can count on it that they will walk away from it completely free or a little slap over there hands (9 days salary deduction) and they get to keep there job.
    That’s just how the ANC government works! The ANC is the biggest Gang/Mafia in the whole of South Africa and they will keep on destroying and stealing this country till their is nothing left.

  • Hermann Funk says:

    From the President down, none of this dishonest politicians has an interest in fighting corruption and building a just SA.

  • D'Esprit Dan says:

    Fikile Mbalula has lied so many times, about so many things, over so many years, I think it’s fair to say he is the least trustworthy person in South Africa today. You simply cannot take anything he says at face value – unless you invert what he’s saying. He will blame anything and everything on anyone and everyone that is outside of the ANC, whilst never, ever admitting that the party has stuffed state institutions to the gills with absolute charlatans, thieves, incompetents and deployed lackeys, whose only role is to perpetuate the ponzi scheme that is the ANC in power.

  • Rory Macnamara says:

    If I were in the ANC in any position, I would keep quiet as their utterances are annoying and irritating rather than adding value to any discussion.

  • Bathabile Dlamini once mentioned that they all have smaller nyana skeletons ( ANC Ministers ) meaning they are all corrupt some how. That’s the reason they are protecting one another. Ace Magashule mentioned that he kmows bad things that he does not want to speak about concerning some ANC members, what’s stopping from spilling the beans it’s because he was part of the mafia gang. I also agree no member of the ANC mentioned in Zondo commission will ever go to jail. We the citizen we have no one to blame but ourselves. Come 2024 election we still gonna vote for the mafia gang to continue looting.

  • Penny Philip says:

    The problem here is that so many ANC leaders were involved in State Capture in varying degrees that to charge all of them would collapse the government. And then there are a whole lot who didn’t commit crimes themselves but stood by & watched it happen, & did nothing.

  • Grumpy Old Man says:

    Stephen; the biggest irony of Mbalula’s asbestos comments are the Edwin Sodi connection. The guy who gifted all & sundry within the ANC – the guy behind the Hamanskraal water treatment project – but who as far as I know is still an approved supplier to Govt!

  • William Dryden says:

    We can comment about the ANC until the cows come home, the only solution is to vote for the main opposition to get rid of the ANC, then lay charges against all those implicated.

  • Malcolm Mitchell says:

    The problem however is that whilst persons such as those subscribing to this site are aware of what is happening, the vast majority of voters do not and vote with their hearts or for inducements.
    Much like the NP voters who could not see the real picture.

  • Fernando Moreira says:

    These arent good people

    Vote DA !

  • Fuad XXX says:

    He – he – he – I wonder who is the blackest no pun intended

  • Stef Viljoen Viljoen says:

    Ooooooooooo, good one Mr Grootes!

  • David Crossley says:

    Maybe the writing is on the wall and the ANC fears not obtaining a majority next year – in which case they want to maximise the theft and corruption for as long as they hold power. Then they can “Retire” is obscenely wealthy individuals!

  • Colin Braude says:

    The state had money to defend Jacob Zuma and Busisiwe Mkhwebane but not Chief Justice Raymond Zondo and his report. Is it captured?

  • Colin Braude says:

    The state had money to defend Jacob Zuma and Busisiwe Mkhwebane but not Chief Justice Raymond Zondo and his report. Is it captured?

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