Cape Town - Embattled ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule seemed unperturbed by recent corruption allegations levelled against him in a controversial new book, as he blazed the campaign trail across the Western Cape yesterday, dishing out cash to supporters and likening the ruling party to biblical figures.
Magashule, who launched the first day of a two-day campaign in the province, urged supporters not to vote for white people because they were angry with the ANC and its leaders, and to ensure the Western Cape returned to his party.
This, in the wake of damning claims published in journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s new book, Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule’s Web of Capture, which details Magushule’s alleged involvement in corrupt activities in the Free State for almost a decade.
His visit coincides with that of the author, who was also in Cape Town to promote the book.
On Saturday, Magashule dismissed the book and its contents, saying it was just a ploy to cause a distraction and wouldn’t affect the party’s stance on running a campaign against corruption.
“It is a non-issue, we are focusing on elections, people are trying to distract us, our attention and our focus.
“But we are focused on elections and nothing else.
“The ANC is against corruption and that is why we will work hard, it is not going to distract us at all,” he said.
Magushule’s dished out R200 notes to some residents while conducting door-to-door visits in Brown’s Farm, Philippi on Saturday morning.
He was accompanied by the party’s provincial leaders.
These included provincial secretary, Faiez Jacobs, who personally drove Magashule around, as well as acting chairman Khaya Magaxa, NEC member Tony Yengeni, ANCYL chairman Muhammed Khalid Sayed and head of the Department of Justice, Hishaam Mohamed.
Mohamed features on the party’s provincial legislature and National Assembly lists.
Magashule was in a generous mood as he listened to residents’ complaints about living conditions. He opened refrigerators and gave one woman R400 to buy food, promising others furniture.
He promised to make a R10000 donation towards the rebuilding of the home of a family whose house had burnt down.
In one house, Magashule gave the occupants R200 after a woman reaffirmed her support for the party.
He said the level of poverty in households prompted him to dig into his pockets - and this was not electioneering.
“You open fridges and they are empty, there is no food.
“It touches us because we grew up like that and it’s why I am saying to everyone here, whatever little money you have, let us contribute.
“Leave R200, R300 for people to buy what they can buy,” he said.
“But it will be for a day or two, it does not solve the bigger problem, which is unemployment.
“We must create an environment that is conducive for investment for business to create more jobs.
“And those who are fortunate like this must assist one or two people and that is what we call ubuntu.”
Speaking to a group of about 300 people at the Marikana informal settlement, Magashule urged them to vote for the ANC instead of wasting their votes on smaller parties.
“We have seen the areas you live in, how you live, we have seen that the ANC has to work hard and not come to you when they need votes.
“We will fix this because after elections we will make sure that every month we come to you,” he said.
Magashule asked people to put their faith back in the ANC.
“It is Good Friday this week, we are going to pray, pray that the ANC rules over all parts of South Africa.
“That the Western Cape returns.
“Today we came to tell you that, like Jesus Christ said to his 12 disciples, go to all the land, we as the ANC are also saying go to all the parts of the Western Cape, even if you are not a card-carrying ANC member, don’t worry about that, you are all important.
“We want everybody, even those who left for the DA, EFF or UDM, don’t waste your vote this time around, don’t say there are 48 other parties we want the ANC to be weak.
“So don’t vote for other parties please, even if you are angry at the ANC and some of its leaders.
“We ask that we all go out to vote, I will make sure that before we go to the polls that President Ramaphosa comes here and sees how you live.
“I will sit with him on Monday and urge him to see how people live.
“The ANC will take the Western Cape. Don’t ever vote for a white person, a white person will never change the lives of black people, they have oppressed us,” Magashule said.