Ace Magashule at his first appearance in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Friday where he appeared on charges related to a multi-million rand tender in the Free State. Picture: Timothy Bernard / African News Agency / ANA
Ace Magashule at his first appearance in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Friday where he appeared on charges related to a multi-million rand tender in the Free State. Picture: Timothy Bernard / African News Agency / ANA

KZN cadres must do it for the people

By Mphathi Nxumalo, Bongani Hans Time of article published Nov 17, 2020

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ANALYSIS - The ANC is imploding and the leadership in KwaZulu-Natal have been found wanting.

Secretary-General Ace Magashule, effectively the engine and the chief executive of the ruling party, is under siege and set to face a protracted legal battle, waged by those who wield the economic power to use state resources for their nefarious political ends.

Is the ANC in KZN cowering behind the towering figure of money and material riches, or are they strategising a way forward that seeks to ensure that the majority of the people of South Africa, those who have been ostracised by the barons of an elitist economy, rise to the occasion and gain political power and economic emancipation.

Last week, the whole country was watching events unfold in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court where former Free State premier and now ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule faced charges of corruption and failure to exercise oversight over an asbestos tender in the province.

In a show of support, uMkhonto we Sizwe, prominent ANC politicians and supporters descended on Bloemfontein in their thousands to support Magashule, who was released on R200 000 bail. In reaction to this, the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has said that the law should take its course, and Magashule’s refusal to step aside must be dealt with by the party’s national executive committee.

This approach by the KZN ANC was derided by a political analyst who said KZN’s ANC were indecisive “cowards”. KZN ANC spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela said they wanted Magashule’s court process to take its natural course.

On whether they supported Magashule’s decision not to step aside, he said this was a matter that needed to be addressed by the party’s national executive committee. University of Zululand political analyst Professor Sipho Seepe said he agreed with Ntombela in that the matter of Magashule was an NEC matter as they were the ones who came up with the resolution for people who were under a cloud of suspicion to step aside.

“The political decision taken by the NEC may be seen as simply a gimmick whose intention is to play to the gallery. We saw how law enforcement agencies went out of their way to harass Duduzane Zuma when he came to bury his brother. Trumped-up charges were quickly put. He was shackled to the court. The case was thrown out because none existed. It was a case of playing to the gallery,” Seepe said.

He went on to say this decision could be challenged constitutionally, as a person was innocent until proven guilty.

Seepe also responded to the view of letting the court case unfold by saying: “... the issue of waiting for the case to play itself out in the court is a non-statement. It adds no value in that the ANC has no control, or should not have any control or influence on the court proceedings,” he said.

The ANC was in crisis and had been reduced to fighting internal battles that had nothing to do with the “revolution”, with its sole aim being to stay in power, he said.

Political analyst Thabani Khumalo said the ANC in KZN was disintegrating because of a lack of leadership.

“These guys are cowards and don’t want to take decisions.”

Khumalo said a problem that the ANC had was that it had good policies but there was no implementation. He said when the NEC met again it needed to be decisive and tell Magashule to step aside.

Meanwhile, the ANC-aligned radical economic transformation (RET) forces were up in arms, calling for the ruling party’s special conference that will elect new leaders to replace President Cyril Ramaphosa’s leadership.

Those in support of Magashule said it was still unclear to what extent the KwaZulu-Natal branches were supporting him, but they were frustrated by Ramaphosa’s leadership. The province commands the biggest membership of the ANC in the country.

Scores of RET supporters from KwaZulu-Natal, including their provincial national chairperson, Nkosenhle Shezi, were among “80 000” ANC activists and national executive committee and various provincial executive committee members who converged outside the court to support Magashule.

Shezi said that just like former president Jacob Zuma, the charges against Magashule were meant to fight against the RET champions.

Despite anger at Magashule’s prosecution, Shezi said the rage was more at the Ramaphosa-led government’s failure to implement the policies of the 2017 Nasrec conference, which included the nationalisation of state resources, including the Reserve Bank, and land expropriation without compensation.

He said under Ramaphosa’s watch state resources such as police, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and courts were being used to launch an attack against certain leaders.

He said RET members were still questioning the election of Ramaphosa to the helm of the ruling party following allegations that money was used to sway votes at Nasrec.

ANC heavyweight Tony Yengeni in a speech last week stated that delegates had been bribed.

Another ANC activist, who asked not to be named, said the PEC meeting to be held this month might clarify the stance of the provincial branches with regard to Magashule’s arrest.

But he said branches were frustrated by the failure to implement the Nasrec resolutions.

Daily News

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