A report in the Sunday Times details how Ace Magashule allegedly travelled to Cape Town on Wednesday, and planned to announce new appointments to chair parliament’s portfolio committees the following day – despite this not being cleared by national leadership.
Magashule reportedly attempted to “capture parliament” through a caucus meeting while Ramaphosa and key cabinet members were attending a lekgotla in Pretoria.
The agenda of the caucus meeting included “deployment to portfolio committees and whippery”.
When Ramaphosa found out, he put the breaks on Magashule’s plans, sources told the publication.
The meeting was cancelled and the matter will now be finalised at a special NEC meeting in Cape Town on Tuesday.
READ MORE: Magashule denies ‘fallout’ with Ramaphosa
Magashule’s plans allegedly included the take-over of two key portfolio committees – the political and strategy committees – through the appointment of Zuma allies including Bathabile Dlamini, Sdumo Dlamini and Njabulo Nzuza.
The ANC secretary general and his allies also reportedly wanted control of the public enterprises committee to stop Ramaphosa’s proposed unbundling of Eskom.
The report further alleges that part of Magashule’s “coup” attempt involved a bid to shield public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane from impeachment.
A list of portfolio committee chairs was approved by the ANC top six, but lobbying reportedly continued after the top six meeting, and insiders say Magashule was attempting to “force certain names” onto the list.
These included Zuma loyalists Supra Mahumapelo, Faith Muthambi, and Mosebenzi Zwane.
Magashule said the cancelation of the caucus meeting was due to him not being ready to make his presentation.
Presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko declined to comment.
The full story is available in today’s edition of The Sunday Times.
This move by Magashule follows his apparent challenge to Ramaphosa over the Reserve Bank.
Magashule claimed the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) lekgotla had decided the government must expand the SA Reserve Bank (Sarb) mandate to include economic growth and employment.
He said all party deployees were expected to implement the decisions of the ANC 54th national conference – and that included the expansion of the bank’s mandate.
But moderates at the lekgotla, represented by Godongwana and Mboweni, vowed to oppose any attempt to expand that mandate beyond what it was presently. They insisted on a market-driven approach to the economy.
They were supported by strong statements from Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago, who emphasised the importance of maintaining the independence and impartiality of the central bank.
Ramaphosa responded to Magashule’s reserve bank statement with a statement of his own, in his capacity as ANC leader and supposedly on behalf of the movement’s top six.
“The officials viewed the recent public spats about the mandate of the SA Reserve Bank as not being helpful, and mitigating and undermining the confidence of citizens and of investors,” he said.
“It is our desire for the South African Reserve Bank to be publicly owned. However, we recognise that this will come at a cost, which given our current economic and fiscal position, is simply not prudent,” he added.
Following Ramaphosa’s statement, Magashule allegedly briefly contradicted him publicly on Twitter in a tweet that has since been deleted. Magashule has said screenshots that were supposedly quickly taken of his tweet are “fake”, which not everyone believed at the time.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman. Background reporting, Eric Naki and Charles Cilliers)