Ace Magashule vows to remain a loyal ANC member
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Johannesburg – Embattled ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule has vowed to remain a loyal member of his party, but refused to reveal whether he would step aside from his position within the next 28 days.
Magashule was in Soweto on Wednesday when he left scores of media people guessing about his future after ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa ordered all those facing criminal charges to step aside or face suspension.
Outlining the decision on Monday, Ramaphosa said: “All members who have been charged with corruption or other serious crimes must step aside within 30 days, failing which they should be suspended in terms of Rule 25.70 of the ANC Constitution.
“The meeting emphasised that the 30-day period will be to enable the implementation of the decision in line with the guidelines, not to review the decision,” Ramaphosa said.
Traditionally, Magashule was expected to also address the media at the party’s headquarters on Tuesday to further explain the ANC national executive committee (NEC) resolution but he was a no-show.
This prompted a horde of media, upon knowing about his scheduled appointment to plant trees, to descend on Soweto and he was bombarded about his reaction to the NEC’s decision.
While he did not give an emphatic response on whether he would step down or not, Magashule was adamant that despite the NEC’s decision, he would remain a “loyal member of the ANC.
“My heart is black, green and gold. I will die in the ANC. I respect the decision of the ANC,” he said.
Journalists wanted Magashule to reveal whether he would comply with the decision or would defy and, possibly, rally some of his supporters to act against the ANC.
In his reply, Magashule wanted none of it and said: “I respect the resolution of the ANC.”
He did, however, not reveal whether he would resign.
In his bid to steer the media from further repeating the same question, Magashule said: ’’The president of the ANC, Comrade Matamela Ramaphosa, conveyed the resolution of the ANC. I was part of that meeting. What else do you want?'’
Magashule was accompanied to Soweto by the controversial uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Associations (MKMVA) spokesperson, Carl Niehaus, who was criticised for his role in the radical economic transformation (RET) forces.
Niehaus was signalled out at the NEC as the person responsible for the divisions within the ANC and an alleged plot to undermine Ramaphosa. There were also growing concern that Niehaus was operating from Magashule’s office.
Asked about Niehaus’ presence, Magashule said: “Carl is working in my office and he is not controlling me.”