Those wanting President Jacob Zuma to leave office early are “factional and populist”, according to newly elected African National Congress secretary general Ace Magashule.
Magashule was speaking at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall on Sunday afternoon as part of the KwaZulu-Natal ANC Youth League’s 106th birthday celebrations, a large poster of newly elected ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa propped up on the stage behind him during his address.
“There was no national executive committee decision taken to recall President Jacob Zuma. It’s only factional leaders who want to be populist who want him gone,” Magashule said to applause from the large crowd.
He was joined on stage by KwaZulu-Natal ANCYL leaders, former ANC provincial chairman Sihle Zikalala, and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who earlier spoke on behalf of the ANC Women’s League.
Magashule also touched on the controversial Vrede dairy farm controversy in his home province of the Free State, where he is premier and ANC chairman.
To cheers and laughter from the crowd, Magashule said people were trying to implicate him in the Vrede scandal but he was not intimidated. “We have said the law must take its course, they must investigate and decide, and if any wrongdoing was done they must act without fear,” he said.
Magashule’s offices were raided by the Hawks this week as they sought documentation relating to an allegedly corrupt relationship that saw over R200 million in public money siphoned from the project to the Gupta family and their allies, including politicians and officials.
But most of Magashule’s address centred on “radical economic transformation” and unity within the ANC, with him telling the audience he was sent to “energise” them. He also urged the ANC’s supporters to close ranks to stop “the enemy” from infiltrating KwaZulu-Natal.
“We will work with you to deal with ill-disciplined members. Remain disciplined, don’t be disillusioned or hopeless, but the enemy is not going to leave you, the enemy is going to come and penetrate you. The enemy is going to be part of the ANC structures and will try to divide you and make you doubt another comrade. Stay focused. It’s a matter of five years. Conferences happen every five years,” he said.
– African News Agency (ANA)