Johannesburg - The ANC has rallied behind its secretary-general Ace Magashule after he was implicated in state capture and meddling in tenders when he was Free State premier for nearly a decade.
On Sunday, Magashule also came out to dismiss fresh allegations linking him to state capture and looting of the Free State government.
The allegations are contained in a new book by investigative journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh titled Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule’s Web of Capture, which was released on Sunday.
The Sunday Times and City Press carried special reports on the book, fingering Magashule in allegations of theft, corruption and gangsterism.
Among the allegations is that Magashule demanded 10% kickbacks from business people in exchange for securing lucrative contracts from the provincial administration.
But Magashule hit back on Sunday, saying no proof had been presented to him regarding the allegations, which he flatly denied.
“I have said to Myburgh that he cannot write allegations about me. Why does he call them allegations? I said ‘make them facts so that I can act legally against you’.
"Myburgh makes every tender of the Free State as if as premier I was in charge of tenders,” he said.
Magashule is one of the ANC’s key political figures to be implicated in Gupta-linked state capture, but he has denied the allegations.
He said all the allegations of looting against him by Myburgh were part of a plan aimed at damaging his character, a plan that he said started before the ANC elective conference in 2017.
“I was never in charge of any tender. I don’t understand. These allegations are clear. It is an attack on me, trying to weaken me.
"Let him come and bring one person and that person must go to court and say he gave me 10% and say how did he give me the 10%,” he said.
ANC acting national spokesperson Dakota Legoete branded the book dubious, saying it was aimed at inflicting damage on Magashule.
Legoete also questioned why the book was timed for publication barely a month before the elections.
The book details an alleged corrupt relationship between Magashule and a business person named Ignatius “Igo” Mpambani, who benefited from a controversial R255million contract from the Department of Human Settlements, which was awarded without going to tender.
Mpambani was gunned down in Sandton in 2017 and, according to the book, email data and documents obtained before his death detail links between him and Magashule.
Magashule admitted to knowing Mpambani, but said he had no relationship with him.
“I know this guy as a guy in the Free State who was doing business. I have never done any business with Igo. Igo has done business with the Department of Human Settlements,” he said. Magashule added he was surprised that the book also contained accusations that he had exaggerated his Struggle credentials.
“Do I say I was not in exile or in Umkhonto weSizwe? Do I say I’ve never served under all these? I do not know what the man wants. There is no way he can say I do not have these Struggle credentials. I am a well-known person in the whole country. “Nationally and internationally I have been there,” he said.
Magashule said he was seeking legal advice on possible action against Myburgh. “I said he must just prove one thing against me. I will send the book to the lawyers because I have been waiting to do all these things,” Magashule said.
Myburgh said he was unfazed by Magashule’s legal threat, saying he was given time to respond to the allegations made against him. “It is standard procedure in my line of work to have legal threats or action against you. He can go. Our country has a very good justice system. But if he says I have not given time to respond, those are lies. I gave him two full weeks and he has not responded to me,” Myburgh said.