Ramaphosa vs Magashule: open warfare at ANC NEC
Johannesburg - In a bid to assert his leadership over the party, ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa is using a possible Cabinet reshuffle to garner majority support for a resolution to sideline his arch-rival and party secretary-general Ace Magashule.
According to sources close to the party, Ramaphosa’s move has angered many within its national executive committee (NEC) which concludes its three-day meeting today.
According to these sources, Ramaphosa is targeting various ministers and their deputies to ensure that a resolution forcing Magashule to step aside is pushed through.
The tone for this weekend’s NEC meeting was set earlier this week when the ANC’S top six meeting ended in chaos following a clash between Ramaphosa and Magashule after the latter was told by Ramaphosa to step down in the interests of broader party unity.
According to sources, Deputy President David Mabuza stepped in to calm the waters and told the meeting that it was unfair to target Magashule while the factions supporting Ramaphosa were allowed to conduct their own campaigns unchecked.
Sources close to the top six meeting said that Mabuza was emphatic that no RET member, Magashule or his ally Carl Niehaus, must be suspended.
If they were suspended, the same rules must apply to the other group and people like Frank Chikane and those in the Defend Our Democracy must face similar action.
According to the sources, there was also heated debate over the use of state resources and the National Prosecuting Authority by Ramaphosa to marginalise opponents.
The sources said Magashule and his supporters claimed to be in possession of information that NPA head advocate Shamila Batohi had informed Ramaphosa that there was not enough evidence to prosecute Magashule and described the use of an imminent Cabinet reshuffle as a desperate move.
Key Ramaphosa ally Joel Netshitendzhe was also in the firing line according to the sources after he published an article accusing Magashule ally Carl Niehaus of plotting to launch a new RET party.
The sources said that there was a heated debate at the NEC over Netshitendzhe’s article and the role played by white monopoly capital to influence and control the direction of the ANC.
The open warfare at the NEC comes as several members of the ANC, led by retired army general Maoemela Mojo Motau, marched on Luthuli House yesterday to demand that they address the NEC on a number of issues.
During the protest outside Luthuli House yesterday, Motau wanted to address the NEC.
Motau said their letter is demanding that the NEC must give them an opportunity to address it.
He said, as leaders of the ANC, they needed to listen to cadres since they want to address them.
“The central issue here is that we are convinced that once we address them they would see the reason why they should go. The NEC needs to be reconstituted because, within the ANC, we are aware that there are people who do not want to save the ANC. There are people who are serving the external agenda to destroy the ANC.
“We know that now the ANC is being told that it is going to govern in a coalition and nobody seems to be challenging that issue. Cyril Ramaphosa as the president of ANC was told that they can only work with him in a coalition. We didn’t hear him loud and clear say I am not going to work with the DA because the DA represents the enemy of this country,” said Motau.
The sources who spoke to Independent Media also said that the conundrum over its former president Jacob Zuma and his refusal to abide by Constitutional Court ruling compelling him to appear before the State Capture probe has brought into further question the capability of Ramaphosa to lead the ruling party and that there is a growing fear of a violent confrontation if the current leadership tussles are not resolved.