SUSPENDED ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule on Tuesday backed the #FreeJacobZuma campaign but expressed his opposition to the looting and destruction of property.
The former Free State premier said his support for the #FreeJacobZuma campaign was based on his belief that he has not been treated like he has rights as contained in the Bill of Rights.
”The #FreeJacobZuma campaign, no one, I think, was calling for burning of things and all that. We don’t appreciate the fact that property is destroyed because tomorrow you are going to need it,” said Magashule, adding that former president Zuma has rights like everyone else.
In an interview with Johannesburg-based talk radio station Power FM, Magashule was critical of the visibility of the country’s leaders during the violent protests that started as demands for Zuma to be released from serving his 15-month jail sentence for contempt of court and the subsequent looting mostly in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
”There is no responsible leader who can watch and say, as leaders we were supposed to be on the ground interacting with people.
You can’t run away from the people as a leader if you have lived among them, if you are part of them but if you’re a leader and you think leadership is status you won’t go down to the ground, people won’t see you,” he said.
According to Magashule, times of crisis are when leaders are supposed to be seen.
However, Magashule will not be joining the #FreeJacobZuma campaign any time soon.
”I don’t want to create the impression that while the ANC says you are suspended I want to be popular because of these uprisings, we have lost touch, I have lost the Free State. These are things which are nonsensical because there isn’t any truth in that,” he explained.
Magashule continued: “I am on the ground, well respected by our communities, black and white, throughout not only the Free State but South Africa. You’ll be embarrassed that in each and every community I’m well entrenched. I’m well entrenched because I’m part of the ANC and I have played my role as a leader”.
He also backed comments on the state of South Africa made by political analyst Moeletsi Mbeki.
Magashule said for 27 years we have not wanted to tamper with conditions of the economy and wanted to still remain focused on the elite, the middle class and the rich.
He said he agreed with Mbeki that what the ANC government should have long done was to immediately start with implementing radical socio-economic transformation to change the structure of the economy when the governing party took power in 1994.
Magashule, who lost his South Gauteng High Court bid to overturn his suspension on Friday, maintained that he still held the powerful position in the ANC.
”I am secretary-general of the ANC, I was elected by conference,” he insisted.
Magashule is appealing the ruling of the full bench of the high court.