In a report in City Press on Sunday, an anonymous senior party leader in the ANC is quoted alleging that there was “evidence” that ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule had doctored the list of names submitted to the Independent Electoral Commission for who will represent the ANC in parliament.
“There is documentation that he changed a name,” the source reportedly told the Sunday paper.
“That’s nonsense,” Magashule told The Citizen on Sunday, and added that the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) had expressed confidence in the bona fides of the final list.
He expressed frustration at allegedly not being contacted for comment before the allegation was published, and said he would consider complaining about it to the press ombudsman.
“The list is the product of the national executive committee,” he said, reiterating that he had told the NEC that he had not tampered with the list. He agreed that “it was a product of engagements during an extended national working committee meeting attended by provincial secretaries two weeks ago”, as reported by City Press.
He told The Citizen that the NEC had accepted the list and were happy with the process that resulted in its compilation.
A narrative has emerged that Magashule and ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa are at odds, with the co-called Ramaphosa camp allegedly not happy that many “tainted” individuals associated with the Jacob Zuma presidency remain on the parliamentary list. Ramaphosa allies Pravin Gordhan and Derek Hanekom are also relatively low on the list, at 73 and 95, respectively, though they are still high enough to be assured of becoming MPs again.
Magashule has previously denied that he is working against Ramaphosa, and said so again on Sunday.
The former Free State premier has found himself under increasing pressure this week after the publication of a book, Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule’s Web of Capture, alleging that he abused his power in the province, which he led from 2009 to 2018.
The Sunday Times also reported today that the ANC’s NEC supposedly told Magashule to deal with the allegations against him in his personal capacity and to ensure that a statement such as the one issued by Luthuli House last week calling his critics “Stratcom” should never be released again.
“I am completely innocent of all these things,” Magashule told The Citizen, reiterating previous comments that he was receiving legal advice and that he planned to sue in particular author Pieter-Louis Myburgh for defamation.
He further denied that he had not been accessible to journalists seeking comment.