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Ace Magashule: Let justice be done, though the heavens...

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Ace Magashule: Let justice be done, though the heavens may fall

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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.

Never before has the ANC had a person as secretary-general such as Ace Magashule, and believe you me we have had some pretty unsavoury characters serving in the 107-year history of this organisation.

No one is above the law – no one! I’m always perplexed with some of my close friends and comrades suggesting that the president must find a way to settle this tension between him and the secretary-general of the ANC.

In fact, finding a solution is code for suggesting that a mechanism must be found to ensure that the SG will not be going to prison soon. They say it with such straight faces, it does not compute with them that what they are actually asking for is against the law and impossible for the president to do.

When I remind them that such an accommodation cannot be found, they threaten chaos should the SG be arrested and hauled to court to answer for all the factual allegations against him. One only has to read the book Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule’s Web of Capture, to get a pretty good sense of this individual’s wrongdoing.

So, to allay all fears, let me take you through exactly how Magashule will be arrested before Christmas this year. The purpose of this is to put your minds at ease with regards to this eventuality. But, before I get to that, in case there is still a question out there as to why we would want to arrest the SG of the ANC, it’s because the man is a criminal first and foremost. And manipulating electioneering politics in the ANC so that you can worm your way into the most important position in the party to avoid prosecution simply won’t save your bacon.

Never before has the ANC had such a person as its SG, and believe you me we have had some pretty unsavoury characters serving in the 107-year-old NEC of this organisation – but never a person with such blatant criminal, corrupt activities on his curriculum vitae.

Previous comrades that held the illustrious position of SG include Sol Plaatje, James Arthur Calata, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo, Philemon Nokwe, Alfred Nzo, Cyril Ramaphosa and Kgalema Motlanthe, to mention but a few. Men of integrity and character. They displayed ethical leadership traits wherever they found themselves. These are the men in whose footsteps Ace Magashule is supposed to follow, it is on their shoulders he is supposed to stand: but alas, we have Ace Magashule, a corrupt, unethical person, who has stolen from the public purse to enrich himself and others. He stole money from the poor for houses that were never built, gave away farms for a pittance – that were meant for poor black farmers – and so much more.

SABC anchor: Breaking news! Ace Magashule was arrested at his home in the early hours of this morning. Hawks descended on the property at about 5.20am and produced a search and seizure plus a warrant of arrest. We now go live to the house where we might still see the dramatic events unfolding. We have Chriselda Lewis on the scene. Chriselda, tell us, what do you see?

Chriselda Lewis: Yes, thank you, as you can see behind me, the police officer is just bringing Mr Ace Magashule out of the house and walking him to the police vehicle.

It seems as if, yes, he has been handcuffed and the officer is now placing his hand on top of the SG’s head guiding him into the police vehicle. Unbelievable scenes here this morning… back to you in the studio.

SABC anchor: Well, there you have it, more of this unfolding story in a minute, but first the weather report…

Welcome back, and in case you are only joining us now, Ace Magashule, the secretary-general of the ANC was arrested in the early hours of this morning at his home in Gauteng. We have Chriselda Lewis on the scene.

Chriselda, any additional information about this dramatic turn of events?

Chriselda Lewis: Yes, earlier I spoke to the spokesperson of the Hawks, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi and asked him why they decided to arrest the SG now.

The Hawks spokesperson: Well, there is never a good time to arrest anyone. We decided independently that we were ready to effect this arrest since we have been engaged in acquiring evidence for the case over the last 10 months at least.

Chriselda Lewis: But, don’t you fear a retaliation from the governing party?

The Hawks spokesperson: Well that is their prerogative, we here at the NPA and in particular the Hawks, have a job to do and we execute our job without fear or favour.

Chriselda Lewis: Thank you, that will be all. Back to you in the studio.

SABC anchor: Thank you Chriselda, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, the SG of the ANC, Ace Magashule has been arrested and faces charges of fraud and corruption, extortion, and money laundering, among others. We are informed that the officials of the ANC have called for an emergency meeting at Luthuli House this morning and that a press conference is scheduled for 11 o’clock today. We will, of course, keep you posted as developments unfold.

Further afield, in the Free State province, sporadic protests have flared up as the news of Magashule’s arrest hit media outlets. Police say they are monitoring the situation and there is no cause for concern. All other provinces, it seems, are quiet and no protest actions have been reported. Attempts to get comment from officials and NEC members of the ANC have proved very difficult. In fact, most members that did answer their phones indicated that the officials will formally respond to this unfolding situation.

***

At the press conference we see more than 200 domestic and foreign journalists gathered to hear what the officials have decided.

First, as chairperson, may I welcome each and every one of you here this morning. I have a prepared speech:

The ANC notes with concern the manner in which our SG was arrested this morning, like a common criminal, and condemn this action out of hand. We feel that Comrade Ace could have been afforded the opportunity to hand himself over to the authorities in a dignified manner. We will be taking this up with the minister, Ronald Lamola, to register our protest.

Furthermore, we as officials of the ANC want to state categorically that the law must take its course and we hope this matter will find a speedy resolution and not drag on unnecessarily. Oh, by the way, apologies, I should have started with explaining why the president is not here with us. As you may or may not know, the president is in New York on state business but has been in consultation with us on this matter. He has expressed his shock at the arrest and will be making his way back to South Africa with immediate effect. We understand the president has spoken with Comrade Ace directly and has conveyed his support in this difficult time and has vowed to get to the bottom of this upon his return.

As for the well-being of Comrade Ace, he is relaxed and strong and indicated that he awaits his bail hearing. Our thoughts are with him. We also want to state categorically that any violence perpetrated in the name of Comrade Ace will not be tolerated by this leadership and that the rule of law is very clear in these circumstances. One is innocent until proven guilty and may Comrade Ace receive a fair trial. Any questions?

There will be no imploding of the ANC, and certainly not a backlash either. Some in the NEC will call for an emergency meeting, which will be granted, but what exactly will they be saying that is different to the official’s comments? The law is clear and cannot be sidestepped, not even by this NEC. All they can say is that the law must take its course and a fair trial must ensue.

What will happen though, is that the fightback elements in the ANC are going to want to up the ante and attempt to apply more pressure on the CR elements in the ANC, especially towards the National General Council (NGC) conference scheduled for the middle of next year.

It is largely anticipated that President Cyril Ramaphosa will get a whipping at the NGC from the fightback faction for not implementing the resolutions of the Nasrec conference. Some go as far as saying that they might attempt to pass a motion of no confidence in the president, opening the path for his removal from high office.

But I predict this NGC will be a wholly CR affair, contrary to popular opinion out there. If anything, it will be the SG and his fightback elements that are going to receive the brunt of delegates’ ire at this much-anticipated ANC conference.

So, as it is said, “Fiat justitia ruat caelum” – let justice be done though the heavens may fall. DM

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