Defend Truth


The ANC is bigger than its secretary-general, Ace Magashule


Oscar van Heerden is a scholar of International Relations (IR), where he focuses on International Political Economy, with an emphasis on Africa, and SADC in particular. He completed his PhD and Masters studies at the University of Cambridge (UK). His undergraduate studies were at Turfloop and Wits. He is currently a Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Fort Hare University and writes in his personal capacity.

Beware, secretary-general, for you may be firing at the president, but it is the party that is getting hit – and as a man in your position should know, the party will not stand for it.

As is common cause by now and as was foretold by many prior to the general election on 8 May 2019, the war in the ANC is reaching fever pitch. A full-frontal onslaught is underway by the coalition of the wounded, and the general leading the forces of darkness is none other than Ace Magashule.

Why do I say this? Because looking over the past few days, one can clearly discern that Ace and his ilk are on the back foot, seeing the prison gates and, as such, are pulling out all the stops in an attempt to still claim some legitimacy and to occupy the moral high ground.

It is not working I’m afraid, SG.

Four recent events point to this onslaught. The first was the Walter Sisulu Memorial Lecture, which was delivered by the secretary-general of the ANC, Magashule.

Have you no shame, to dishonour the great name of Tata Walter Sisulu by launching from this platform an attack on the president of the ANC? Calling him all sorts of names, consorting with white monopoly capital, being co-opted by whites and continuing to besmirch his good name? Tata Sisulu would have said, “not in my name!”

And for Lindiwe Sisulu to allow such to take place in the name of her father, simply baffles me and I’m sure others too. Why could you not be exemplary like Mama Dlamini-Zuma, who immediately after the Nasrec defeat accepted her fate and became a disciplined cadre of the ANC, throwing her weight and support behind President Ramaphosa? She was politically mature enough to know that he had extended to her an olive branch by asking if she would be part of his Cabinet and Presidency. Since then, she has conducted herself with poise and dignity, unlike you, Lindiwe. Still throwing your toys out of the cot and displaying a sense of entitlement for higher office. There are so many that are disappointed with this misplaced childish behaviour. It is simply unbecoming, Madam Sisulu.

The second attack came in the form of digging up a bit of history on the current minister of intelligence and accusing her of wrongdoing some 12 years ago. Apparently, the allegation goes, she was employed by the State Security Agency for some years and did not disclose this to Parliament. The detail and nature of such work remain classified but I’m sure in due course we the public will have access to it. Slanderous in its make-up but one cannot put it past the dark forces; after all, we know this is how they roll.

The third matter is the reports by the Public Protector (PP) on Pravin Gordhan and DD Mabuza. According to her report, the latter has been cleared of all wrongdoing, paving the way for him to take up his rightful role as deputy president of the republic, come the announcement from President Ramaphosa later in the week. Minister Pravin, on the other hand, has done wrong, according to PP Busisiwe Mkhwebane. The timing of the release of her report was suspect: President Ramaphosa was due to announce those whom he deemed fit to be in the executive of the government, but at the last minute he had to postpone his announcement because of the PP’s report.

The backlash the PP has been receiving, many claim, is because they simply cannot accept that former finance minister Gordhan is capable of flouting the rules and hence breaking the law. But the real reason for people’s backlash is not the Gordhan matter; no, it is the continuous failure on the part of the PP to do things right. It is because the PP is useless at her job. She brings the Office of the PP into disrepute almost at every turn.

One only has to look at the number of court rulings against her. In some cases, the judges are so perturbed that they have even begun to say she should personally also contribute to the legal costs of some of her office’s cases. In one judgment, High Court Judge Ronel Tolmay wrote that Mkhwebane’s failures and omissions in the investigation were inexplicable unless they were done with “some ulterior purpose”. She was referring to the Vrede Dairy Farm Project investigation.

The fact that the EFF has now joined Mkhwebane’s court action against Gordhan is understandable; they have, after all, been gunning for him since he exposed their links with underworld types, particularly in the tobacco industry.

It is just a matter of time, and the very same courts are going to rule that she is not fit for office, in short, she is incompetent. I won’t say anything of the fact that she hails from the State Security Agency herself. Jacob Zuma knows how to pick them, I tell you.

The fourth and final matter was the snubbing of the president’s inauguration by former president Zuma. Instead, he is singing and dancing elsewhere in the country, speaking utter hogwash about how he is innocent and the victim here. The State apparently has reneged on an agreement to cover his legal fees from now until all eternity and hence he can only solicit the help of black lawyers and not white ones. These sentiments expressed by Zuma are so problematic in so many ways but let’s leave it for another time perhaps. Poor Ace and Zuma, they are the victims here. Their strategy, yet again this time around, is to stoke the conspiracies, play the victim and blame white monopoly capital for everything else.

It is not working, I’m afraid, SG.

So many of my friends have been saying that what is required in the ANC is unity and not a continuation of these factional politics. I agree wholeheartedly but when such brazen attacks on the president are all around us, what unity are you referring too?

I’m sure President Ramaphosa wants nothing more than a united ANC so that he and his Cabinet can concentrate on the massive tasks and challenges facing our people in our beloved country. Instead, he must preoccupy himself with such ill-discipline within the ranks of the organisation.

Hopefully, the upcoming national executive committee will put a stop to this madness and call the SG to order once and for all. He is abusing his position in the ANC to launch attacks against the president at every opportunity and this must be nipped in the bud now.

We saw it at the Results Operations Centre of the IEC, where there was a showdown between the SG and the head of the ANC elections team. We saw it at various public ANC platforms, telling people that five years was a short time, meaning he already was implying that President Ramaphosa’s days were numbered.

He did it again at the memorial lecture these past few days. How many times must the SG still do this before the national executive committee puts a stop to it? This sort of behaviour from any other comrade and they would have been hauled in front of the ANC disciplinary committee by now, facing serious sanctions.

At the end of the day, what you are doing, Ace Magashule, is not hurting Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa. Oh no, you are hurting the ANC. And in case you don’t know this as the SG of the ANC, the ANC will not stand for it because no one is bigger than the party, not even its secretary-general. DM


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