ANC members can support Ace Magashule at court but not in party’s name, says Mashatile
Johannesburg - Despite promises from ANC members they will show up in their numbers on Friday in support of ANC secretary-general Ace Magshule, the ANC top six has cautioned members against marching using the party's name.
The ANC top six held a late-night meeting on Tuesday following Magashule being served with a warrant of arrest by the Hawks relating to his alleged involvement in the R255 million Free State asbestos audit contract awarded in 2014.
ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte along with the party's treasurer-general Paul Mashatile briefed the media on Wednesday. The two provided a short statement on the meeting, saying Magashule had briefed the officials of his impending court appearance on Friday.
Magashule explained he was charged for a lack of oversight while he served as premier of the Free State.
Duarte said Magashule made it clear he did not want his name to be used in protests and he would cooperate fully with law enforcement officials.
She said ANC officials continued to be concerned about corruption and would allow the law to take its course.
Magashule on Tuesday appeared to allude to law enforcement agencies being used against him. When asked if the ANC secretary-general had repeated these concerns to party officials, Duarte said he had not.
ANC members in the Free State indicated they would be supporting Magashule as they had done with former president Jacob Zuma during his court appearances.
Mashatile said ANC members could go and support Magashule as individuals, but not in the party’s name.
Duarte said no decision was taken on whether ANC members implicated in corruption should step aside. She said the party’s position would be discussed further by the ANC NEC.
Magashule did not offer to step aside from his position, Duarte confirmed.
Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina has spoken out strongly against Magashule being charged. Meanwhile, Mashatile has cautioned against members taking strong stances against law enforcement agencies.
“We discourage our members from saying such things. We need our members to remain calm in such a situation. We will not interfere with state law enforcement agencies,” Mashatile said.