PRETORIA - The ANC’s Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) on Tuesday said it was angered and dismayed by the warrant of arrest issued to ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule.
“This is an extremely serious development for both the ANC and our whole South African community. MKMVA will in due course respond with a comprehensive statement,” said MKMVA spokesperson Carl Niehaus.
“As MKMVA we warned many times against the selective use of corruption charges and the law-enforcement agencies as tools for factional targeting and political infighting, (which) causes disunity in the African National Congress and overall in our country. It is also fundamentally disrespectful of our Constitution and the rule of law in general.”
In his statement, Niehaus emphasised: “MKMVA says #HandsOffAceMagashule! and #StopTheWedgeDriversInOurANC”.
Spokesperson for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) in Free State province Lynda Steyn revealed on Tuesday that an arrest warrant has been issued for Magashule.
“He hasn't been arrested as yet, but the warrant has been signed… on charges of corruption in the asbestos case," said Steyn.
The warrant relates to the R225-million (US$14.4 million) Free State asbestos case in which businessman Edwin Sodi and a number of other prominent figures have been charged.
Magashule, who is in charge of the day-to-day running of the ANC, told reporters he was "not worried" and that he had done nothing wrong.
"If it happens, it will happen, so I'm not worried at all," he said in footage broadcast by eNCA television. "I haven't done anything wrong as a law-abiding citizen."
Mixed reactions emerged on social media as South Africans took in the news of Magashule’s imminent arrest.
Newspaper columnist Barney Mthombothi wrote: “Ace Magashule’s arrest puts ANC’s ‘stand aside’ policy to its biggest test.”
Another Twitter user, iSilo uKwazikwakhe, reacted to the news: “I stand with the SG. We owe (it) to ourselves to protect all RET (radical economic transformation) champions. Protect Zuma, protect Ace”.
Siya Miti reacted: “The ANC’s feeble attempt to distance itself from Ace Magashule is to label him ’an enemy agent’. After all these years that they silently enabled him, now that an arrest warrant is issued, they realise he is ’an enemy agent’. What a joke, my darling.”