'Former NDZ supporters feel targeted': Ace Magashule

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule says former supporters of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma feel targeted.
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule says former supporters of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma feel targeted.
Image: Alon Skuy

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule says party leaders who did not support President Cyril Ramaphosa’s candidacy feel they are being targeted by the party’s integrity committee and the country’s law enforcement agencies.

In an interview, Magashule said former ministers Bongani Bongo and Mosebenzi Zwane had complained to him that there seemed to be an attempt to purge those who backed Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for the top job at the ANC’s conference in Nasrec.

Bongo was recently arrested following accusations that he tried to bribe advocate Ntuthuzelo Vanara, who was evidence leader of a parliamentary Eskom inquiry. Bongo blamed public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan for his troubles.

Zwane and former communications minister Faith Muthambi have been asked by the ethics committee in parliament to answer questions relating to their alleged roles in state capture.

“That’s how those people feel. That’s how Mosebenzi Zwane feels. That’s how Bongo feels,’ said Magashule.

ANC insiders said Bongo stood up in the NEC meeting last week and defended himself, complaining that he was “charged” by the ANC integrity commission without him even appearing before them.

The integrity commission wrote to the party’s top six, recommending that he step down from both the party and parliament until the court has ruled on his matter. 

Another source said it was ANC Veteran’s League leader Snuki Zikalala who questioned why Bongo was allowed to remain in his position after being charged for corruption. 

Zikalala first raised this matter at the ANC’s National Working Committee meeting last week, but he was shot down. 

“He said that there’s no issue to discuss. It is a policy of the ANC that if you are arrested you must step aside. It was what we campaigned on. There is no discussion,” the party insider said.

Zikalala was fervent in his push for Bongo to relinquish his duties as parliamentary home affairs portfolio committee chair, and was later supported by minister in the presidency Jackson Mthembu. 

Insiders said Mthembu raised concern as to why Bongo’s arrest was not formally tabled for discussion at the NEC.

Magashule confirmed that the NEC did discuss the matter, and instructed Ramaphosa to hold a meeting between Bongo and Gordhan.

"The [NEC] meeting did pick up this matter and we said the president must meet Bongo and Pravin Gordhan. We’re encouraging members to come to the secretary general’s office and raise matters internally when they are not happy so that we can sit down with anybody who is not satisfied … rather than people … keep quiet and burst at the end.

“Bongo has met me. The president will definitely meet Bongo and Pravin. Zwane has raised this matter officially,” said Magashule.

Even Magashule himself is under investigation by his own party after claims that he assisted in establishing the African Transformation Movement.

He revealed he had appeared before the panel probing the claims against him, and that the ANC was now waiting for a report.

There are also murmurings that Magashule himself is under investigation and that when the Hawks pounce on those involved in the Estina dairy farm scandal, he will also be arrested.

Magashule said he was aware of the rumours, but he had not heard from authorities.

“Nobody has come to me. I only hear those rumours. We will deal with things as they come. When you know you have not done anything, there is no need to worry. I sleep very well because my conscious is very clear,” he said.

Asked if he shared Bongo and Zwane’s assertion that that they were attempts to purge Dlamini-Zuma’s backers, Magashule said: “I have not yet concluded. I’m not sure.”