ANC attacks Sunday Times and City Press over Magashule reports
The ANC has gone on the offensive, and launched an attack on the Sunday Times and City Press newspapers for publishing details of how ANC secretary general Ace Magashule stands accused of rampant corruption, ruthless gangsterism and even exaggerating his struggle credentials.
In a statement on Sunday, the party dubbed the reports as a well-coordinated attack, lies, fake news and propaganda.
Both Sunday newspapers published shocking claims on their front pages based on "Gangster State: Unraveling Ace Magashule's Web of Capture", a sensational new book that was published on Sunday.
But Luthuli House has hit back saying it was part of a "carefully planned Stratcom operation" against Magashule and the ANC.
Apart from attacking the newspaper stories, the party did not respond to the contents of the reports nor the book.
ANC spokesperson Dakota Legoete said there was a well-coordinated media attack against Magashule by the Sunday Times and the City Press. He said this was part of efforts to undermine the ANC’s election campaign.
"This Sunday’s continuation of front page lies by these two embarrassing rags should not be given any credibility by responding to their baseless allegations, and the ANC will certainly not do so," he said.
Legoete said the stories were fake news and "are timed for publication barely a month before our national elections, in order to try and inflict the maximum damage against the secretary general of the ANC".
In the book, Magashule is also accused of exaggerating his struggle credentials. One of his claims is that he was part of a group who trained Stompie Seipei and others on how to use AK47s and hand grenades at the home of the late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
However, a former Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) operative from the Free State and a former United Democratic Front (UDF) leader said Magashule was talking nonsense.
"Is he saying he trained a child to be a soldier? If that is the case, whatever they were doing there was not an MK operation," said the former UDF leader.
Legoete dubbed this as a lie.
"We cannot help but to express our incredulity with the pathetic lie that comrade Magashule had embellished his struggle credentials. How on earth does someone who is one of the most well-known liberation fighters and public figures in South Africa, and whose career spans over decades, even begin to do that when every one of his well-known steps have been open to public scrutiny? Clearly, this is ever so much nonsense!" he said.
The book also details how a former ally claims Magashule arrived at his doorstep in Bloemfontein one morning in 2013. Traveling without his blue-light brigade or bodyguards, Magashule drove him from Bloemfontein to Johannesburg without disclosing who they were about to meet.
Thabo Manyoni, who was the Mangaung mayor at the time, said the two arrived at the Gupta compound in Saxonwold, where the premier introduced him to Atul Gupta as "the person you will be working with".
During their meeting Gupta boasted about friends in high places, claiming he could summon cabinet ministers to Saxonwold within an hour with a phone call. He offered Manyoni an A4 envelope stuffed with cash. The former mayor traces his political demise to his refusal to co-operate in state capture.
Criticising the two papers, the ANC said: "It is no coincidence that the Sunday Times and City Press are used as the propaganda instruments to launch this campaign. Both newspapers have been competing with each other about which one can be the most notorious peddler of fake news.
"Both have also been involved in vitriolic and sustained propaganda campaigns against comrade Ace Magashule and other ANC politicians, with them having been proved time after time to have published blatant lies."
Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.