- A defiant Ace Magashule told Briefly News in an exclusive interview that only the ANC branches can remove him from his secretary-general position
- The 30 days given to members who are facing charges to step down ends in two weeks, so the pressure is on
- Magashule says he will still be secretary-general when the 30-day deadline ends
By Wisely Manzini - Freelance Journalist
With the clock ticking for ANC members facing charges to step aside, a defiant Ace Magashule says he will still be the party’s secretary-general when the 30-day ultimatum ends in two weeks.
In an exclusive interview, Magashule told Briefly News that he would only step down when instructed to do so by ANC branches.
Magashule is among party leaders who were given 30 days by the National Executive Committee (NEC) - the highest decision-making body - to step down. With the noose tightening around his neck, Magashule says he is unshaken.
“We can’t allow the step aside policy to be used by some to target their political opponents. We can’t allow some people to deliberately destroy our party.”
Magashule visited his close ally, former president Jacob Zuma, in Nkandla last Thursday after the NEC told him to consult with party elders. He said his consultations were going well but declined to say what was Zuma’s advice to him was.
Magashule is expected to also meet with the erstwhile president Thabo Mbeki at some point.
His supporters are already touting him as the next president of the ANC to succeed his arch-rival, current President Cyril Ramaphosa. The secretary general declined to indicate whether he is eyeing the ANC president position ahead of the all-important ANC elective conference set for next year or not.
Magashule is facing fraud and corruption charges stemming from a R255 million asbestos tender issued during his time as premier of the Free State. He is out on R200 000 bail. The charges could seal his fate as his detractors in the ruling ANC are gunning for his head.
“Some people want to use structures of the ANC to deal with their opponents. I stand for unity that the branches entrusted me with when they elected me in 2017.”
“I want to prove that I respect all structures of the ANC, but if people use our noble structures for their motives, it will backfire badly for them.”
Magashule is not the only prominent leader who could lose his powerful position. Briefly News previously reported that former eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede could also be sacked as a Member of the KwaZulu-Natal provincial legislature in line with the step aside policy.
Gumede faces a host of charges emanating from a controversial R430 million Durban Solid Waste tender issued during her time as mayor.
As Magashulke fights to save his political career, the fragile unity of the ANC is being tested once again.
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