Ace ap­peals for ANC unity

‘Divi­sions are bleed­ing the party’ says sec­re­tary-gen­eral, blam­ing ‘agents of anti-trans­for­ma­tion’

The Sunday Independent - - NATION -

ACE MA­GASHULE, sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the ANC, has called for unity as the rul­ing party gears up for elec­tions next year.

In an exclusive in­ter­view with In­de­pen­dent Me­dia, Magshule delved into the chal­lenges of hav­ing to unify two deeply di­vided groups within the move­ment in the af­ter­math of the ANC elec­tive con­fer­ence at Nas­rec last December.

Go­ing into the elec­tions, Ma­gashule is at the cen­tre, try­ing to pull to­gether two op­pos­ing fac­tions at a time when op­po­si­tion po­lit­i­cal par­ties are gain­ing trac­tion, eat­ing away slowly at the ANC’s num­bers in the polls over the years.

While grap­pling with this, he re­mains adamant that fac­tion­al­ists in the party do not rep­re­sent the moral and pro­fes­sional ethos of the ANC, will be rooted out in time and will not suc­ceed in re­mov­ing him from his po­si­tion as sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the lib­er­a­tion move­ment.

Ma­gashule al­leges that those sow­ing divi­sions within the party through the me­dia are work­ing with “agents of anti-trans­for­ma­tion” and form part of a prob­lem where black South Africans “con­tinue to be ex­cluded and marginalised” from the main­stream econ­omy.

“I have been in the ANC for more than four decades, and af­ter every con­fer­ence we al­ways came out united. There were al­ways two groups at con­fer­ence. One would win, and one would lose.

“As a demo­cratic or­gan­i­sa­tion, our mem­bers are al­lowed to have their pre­ferred can­di­dates, but once con­fer­ence is over we unite,” he said. AYANDA MD­LULI

Re­cently, for­mer Free State eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment MEC Mx­olisi Duk­wana claimed that Ma­gashule took him to see the Gup­tas where he was of­fered R2 mil­lion a year for 10 years for his sig­na­ture re­gard­ing a govern­ment deal worth R41 bil­lion – a claim Ma­gashule strongly de­nied, say­ing it was “ab­so­lute rub­bish”.

He has since said that if called to tes­tify at the State Cap­ture Com­mis­sion of In­quiry he is ready to give his side of the story.

An­other dis­grun­tled group of about 52 peo­ple from Gariep in the Free State, led by Ike Moroe and Neo Mot­gaung, took the ANC to court to chal­lenge the pro­vin­cial elec­tive con­fer­ence, ac­cus­ing Ma­gashule of pre­sid­ing over an un­law­ful PEC, be­ing bi­ased and do­ing un­der­hand deal­ing in the province.

Ac­cord­ing to Magshule, 50 of the 52 mem­bers have since come to him to apol­o­gise.

“They say that they were sorry, and that they were paid and made to lie about me. There have been at­tempts to tarnish me be­cause in my term as premier of the Free State I was fo­cused on em­pow­er­ing black busi­ness, ex­pos­ing dou­ble stan­dards and ef­fect­ing trans­for­ma­tion, which ruf­fled a lot of feath­ers,” he says.

An ex­am­ple of this, he says can be found at the Reitz Chicken Abat­toir in the Free State, a white­owned busi­ness that re­ceived R300m from the In­dus­trial De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (IDC).

The busi­ness, says Ma­gashule, is al­leged to be en­gag­ing in prac­tices where its ma­jor­ity black work­force is sup­pressed, yet has never been the sub­ject of any on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions in the me­dia “be­cause it is a white­owned com­pany”.

Ma­gashule says the project was pre­sented to him by the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Depart­ment of Fi­nance in the province. It was heav­ily sup­ported by the IDC and cost more than the Estina farm project, but “be­cause it is white­owned” there was no noise.

“We are in an age where those who want to fur­ther their own agendas will use dis­in­for­ma­tion to sow divi­sions within the party for their own self­ish gain. This is the time to for­get about dif­fer­ences and fo­cus on uni­fy­ing the party.

“The divi­sions are bleed­ing the party. We can­not con­tinue with hav­ing is­sues and driv­ing agendas against each other.”

He claims there are in­di­vid­u­als within the party who want him out as the SG be­cause he is seen as a Zuma man. “The re­al­ity is I am no one’s man.

“I am a mem­ber of the ANC NEC who had his own pref­er­ence. I have been a se­nior mem­ber since the days of the un­ban­ning when Nel­son Man­dela be­came pres­i­dent. I was there dur­ing Thabo Mbeki’s ten­ure and un­der Ja­cob Zuma. I am now here un­der Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa. When the head of the or­gan­i­sa­tion is at­tacked, it is my duty to pro­tect them.”

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