Johannesburg - As the inquiry into state capture turns into a gripping series with the ruling ANC government has been put at the centre, one of its senior leaders has refused to shed light on the damage the party could suffer at the polls owing to incessant revelations of alleged corruption implicating its leaders.
ANC National Executive Committee member Bheki Cele, accompanied by a strong police presence, on Saturday took to the streets of the notorious KwaMashu Hostel, north of Durban, as he campaigned for the ANC.
However, for Cele, who received a warm reception in most parts of the hostel, questions on the impact that the perennial revelations implicating ANC leaders in state capture and corruption would have on the party’s reputation and chances at the polls were out of bounds.
When quizzed on the effect the revelations at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry could have on the ANC’s chances and reputation come May 8, Cele responded: “Definitely, it seems today you’re asking the wrong question. You should be asking me about the hostel (KwaMashu) and the campaign, as I am campaigning here today. You should then ask the spokespersons of the ANC about (state) capture.”
The ANC’s secretary-general, Ace Magashule, was accused by former MEC Mxolisi Dukwana of taking money from the Guptas.
Two months after Magashule had ascended to the party’s secretary-general post following the Nasrec conference in December 2017, Cele made a scathing public attack on him during an ANC rally in the northern KwaZulu-Natal town of Vryheid, accusing him of destroying the ANC.
“Ace Magashule, my SG, says that he was introduced to the Guptas by the ANC, and I saw that this is why we are going to have a problem.
“This problem is that the Guptas have the ANC by the scruff of our neck.
“We are fighting as the ANC because of the Guptas, and now someone claims to have been taken to the Guptas on a platter, but he doesn’t say what his programme is. But some of us are starting to suspect that his programme is to destroy the ANC,” Cele said at the time.
However, on Saturday he was in no mood to be as expansive as he had been in February 2018, as he was in full electioneering mode, greeting and hugging community members as he traversed the streets of the notoriously crime-ridden hostel.