ANC secretary general Ace Magashule. File photo: ANA/Itumeleng English.

JOHANNESBURG - The ANC on Sunday hasted to the defence of its secretary general Ace Magashule after he was accused in media reports of rampant corruption and heading a well-organised state capture network, among other things.  

President Cyril Ramaphosa "together with the entire leadership" of the ANC, especially the top six, had been leading the renewal of the ANC as well as the broader South African society, the party said in a statement.

"As the ANC we have openly acknowledged where we have made mistakes and have set ourselves the task of resurrecting the ANC. We have therefore taken it on the chin when the media and other opponents of the ANC have deliberately sought to attack certain leaders of the ANC and spread doubt about the unity of purpose of the leadership.

"However, the maturity the ANC has exhibited is not being reciprocated; rather it seems that our good nature is taken advantage of. And, as the ANC and the leadership we are growing weary," the statement said.

"The latest salvo is a clearly well coordinated media attack in today’s Sunday Times and City Press on our secretary general comrade Ace Magashule. The front page stories in both the Sunday Times and City Press which are almost identical in content, and even have whole paragraphs with exactly the same wording, are based on a typical stratcom style fake-news book by Pieter-Louis Myburgh, with the sensationalist and ridiculously propagandistic title, ‘Gangster State - Unravelling Ace Magashule’s Web of Capture’. Myburgh has since 2016 been disseminating lies about the secretary general, so we see this book as a culmination of all those lies," the ANC statement said. 

These "fake news stories and the dubious book" they were based on were timed for publication barely a month before the May 8 national elections in order to try and inflict the maximum damage against Magashule. It was evidently the "opening propaganda salvo in a carefully planned stratcom operation to unfold in the coming days and weeks" against Magashule and the ANC, using the launch of Myburgh’s book on Sunday and the "lies that it peddles as the basis for a vicious character assassination campaign".

"The ANC sees this highly personalised and vicious attack on our secretary general as a direct and well-calculated attack not only on the person of the secretary general, but in fact on the office of the secretary general (SGO), which is the administrative engine room of the ANC, and as such critical for our election campaign efforts.

"Evidently the secretary general of the ANC, as the CEO of the ANC, is the main target. These attacks are aimed at undermining the ANC’s election campaign and weakening the ANC in general. It should also not be seen in isolation from other propaganda attacks that have been launched against many leaders of the ANC across the length and breath of the country (with those on the ANC candidate list specifically being targeted), as well as the proliferation of allegations also leveled against the other national office bearers (top six) of the ANC," the statement said.

African News Agency (ANA)