ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Johannesburg - ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule has vowed to defend President Cyril Ramaphosa from his detractors.

Magashule was addressing an ANC Youth League rally in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, at the weekend, where he branded attacks on Ramaphosa as an attempt to destroy the party.

He urged members of the ANCYL to defend Ramaphosa from those who were directing attacks against him.

He said former presidents of the governing party had also been targets of those who wanted to harm the ANC. “They will still go for Cyril Ramaphosa. My role and your role is to defend the head of the ANC, because when they attack the head, the intention is to kill the movement,” he said.

Ramaphosa’s woes have been piling up recently following a probe by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane which found him to have violated the Constitution and lied to Parliament regarding the R500 000 donation made to his ANC presidential campaign by late former Bosasa chief executive Gavin Watson.

The president has since taken the report on judicial review, with the aim of having it set aside.

The probe, however, saw bank statements linked to his campaign being leaked to the media, revealing his funders and that around R1billion had been sourced to fund his campaign, which caused a public outcry.

Magashule, who has been a key supporter of former president Jacob Zuma, has been viewed as the leading figure in the faction opposed to Ramaphosa within the party.

He added that while some did not like Zuma in the party, his participation in the ANC’s campaign for the May general elections had increased voter support.

“He helped us, so we need every leader of the ANC. The ANC is not an organisation of certain members and certain leaders. It is an organisation of the people of South Africa,” Magashule said. He slammed divisions within the ANC, saying they were de-focusing the party and its members.

Magashule pointed out that the ANC had to focus on its internal unity if it wanted to improve its electoral prospects and recover from its decline.

“Unity is not child’s play. If we don’t do that, forget about Tshwane. In Gauteng, we are the majority by one seat.”

Magashule also used the platform to slam ministers who contradicted policies of the party, saying they were misleading the public about the ANC’s positions.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has been one of the most vocal members of the Cabinet who disagreed with the nationalisation of the SA Reserve Bank, which is a party resolution.

Magashule said he would keep on countering public utterances when party deployees contradicted the ANC’s policy stances.

Political Bureau