Magashule raises questions over journalist who wrote 'secret meeting' article
Johannesburg - ANC secretary general Ace Magashule has admitted that he met with former president Jacob Zuma but has denied "plotting" to remove President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Magashule said his meeting with Zuma last week was not unusual and that it was not the first he had met with the former statesman without the knowledge of ANC national officials.
The Sunday Times reported that Magashule held a secret meeting at the Maharani Hotel in Durban with Zuma which was attended by former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo, ANC Women's League secretary general Meokgo Matuba and ANC Youth League secretary Thanduxolo Sabeo
The paper reported that the meeting discussed plans to oust Ramaphosa as the president of the ANC.
Magashule said he was already in KwaZulu-Natal to deal with organisational matters and then arranged the meeting with Zuma. He refused to divulge what was discussed at the meeting
"Yes, I was in a meeting with former president Jacob Zuma, as arranged I did meet with him. The meeting was about organisational issues, it is not the first time I meet with former president Jacob Zuma. There was a need for us to meet.
"I called the president to ask for a meeting with him. There were issues that I wanted to discuss with him and I have confided those issues with ANC national officials. National officials of the ANC did not know then that I would be meeting with former president Jacob Zuma. In our meeting yesterday, I briefed them about the meeting," said Magashule in an interview with eNCA.
Magashule, who appeared visibly frustrated during the interview, said he was disturbed by the reports that he was "plotting" to oust Ramaphosa and said he would approach the Press Council regarding the story by the Sunday Times.
"I do not know why there was controversy because the place that we met with President Jacob Zuma is not a secret place, it's a hotel. We went there and I met this journalist as we were going out of the hotel, who said they are a journalist from the Sunday Times. He asked about the meeting and I said it is not your business," said Magashule.
"This is why I want to approach the Press Council in terms of ethics of the media. How does this chap come to the conclusion that we were "plotting”? I do not have time to plot, I am a leader myself in my own right. I told the ANC there was no plot," he said.
Magashule said Dudu Myeni, the controversial former chairperson of the South African Airways board, was present at the hotel, but that she was not part of his meeting with Zuma.
"I have given the names of the people who were in the meeting to the ANC officials I am not accountable to the media. Dudu Myeni was there at the hotel I met her. We were not discussing organisational issues with Dudu Myeni or Supra Mahumapelo - it was just general," he said.
Magashule is known as a close ally of Zuma along with Mahumapelo.
There have been mixed messages from the ANC since the story was published on Sunday with ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe labelling the story as "gossip".
On Monday Zizi Kodwa, the spokesperson of the ANC presidency said the party was not going to investigate the matter as it was not an ANC meeting.
ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu had called on the party to investigate the allegations as the matter deserved "urgent attention".