ATM awaits ruling over claims Magashule ‘financially supported ATM’s formation’

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule. FILE PHOTO: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

ATM says the court ruling in March will be the final debunking of claims that ATM was set up to ‘split the vote and reduce the ANC’s votes’.

The African Transformation Movement (ATM) has welcomed an interim interdict granted by the Grahamstown High Court in the developing case against former SACMCC  general secretary Buyisile Ngqulwana, for “malicious” claims made during the 2019 election campaign that the party was the brainchild of ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule.

While Ngqulwana withdrew the case in court, ATM pursued the matter which has now resulted in an interim interdict by the High Court barring Ngqulwana from claiming to be secretary-general of ATM, ATC (African Transformation Congress) and the SACMCC (South African Council of Messianic Churches in Christ).

In a statement, ATM said: “We are assured that this case will clear any stigma attached to the African Transformation Movement, based on reckless and malicious statements made by one Ngqulwana, in an attempt to weaken the support base of ATM, and in the process, harm the good name of ATM.

“ATM is confident this interim order will be the final order, on March 20, when the Grahamstown High Court makes a final ruling on this case.”

News24 previously reported that Magashule hit back at Ngqulwana with a defamation suit seeking up to R500,000 in damages.

Magashule, at the time, said: “The purpose I am bringing this application is to vindicate my reputation. To this end, I seek various orders aimed at vindicating my character and putting an end to the ongoing and unlawful allegations in the statement and compensating me for the harm I have suffered.”

Ngqulwana has also faced a R22 million defamation lawsuit from ATM, even though he maintained that the statements he made about the formation of the party were accurate.

While Ngqulwana remained steadfast that his statements about ATM were true, Magashule took him to court, while some within the ANC alleged the party was set up to reduce the ANC’s votes.

In an affidavit Ngqulwana detailed the sequence of events leading up to ATM eventually being registered as a political party.

He said plans to establish a political party emerged after President Cyril Ramaphosa had been elected president of the ANC, instead of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Ngqulwana said various meetings were held, including at former ANC president Jacob Zuma’s home.

He said on one occasion he met Magashule at one of those meetings which took place in East London, where supporters of Dlamini-Zuma were present.

Magashule, Ngqulwana said, “financially supported the formation of a political party that would serve as a political mouthpiece for the SACMCC when he was Premier of the Free State”.

“I met with [Magashule] in 2017 for the time in his capacity as Premier of the Free State, to solicit funds for the research to be done for the establishment and development of a political party,” Ngqulwana said.

He added that after meeting Magashule at his offices in Bloemfontein, he was directed to the then premier’s director-general to finalise payment.

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