ANC stalwart and chairperson of Corruption Watch Mavuso Msimang has expressed concern at the allegation that ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule was behind the launch of newly formed breakaway party African Transformation Movement (ATM).
While the ANC has yet to deny on record that its national working committee is probing the allegation, The Citizen understands that it is aware of the allegation.
Msimang said if a report by News24 alleging the committee was investigating Magashule was true, the secretary-general should temporarily step down.
“The allegation … is very disturbing,” said Msimang. “If the ANC leadership believes there is a basis for investigating this grave allegation, the exercise should proceed with urgency.
“It is important that the secretary-general’s innocence is presumed pending the completion of the investigation. It is equally important that the investigation is not prejudiced by potentially undue interference.
“In this regard, it may be necessary to allow the secretary-general to go on leave pending completion of the investigation.”
Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said the allegation Magashule was facing was too broad and could be said of any number of ANC members who were not in the camp of President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“The only thing that he can benefit from the formation of such a party is destabilising the ANC,” said Mathekga. “But it will be very difficult to prove any intention to disrupt, or any motive to destabilise the ANC.”
Led by former ANC member and one-time owner of Gupta-linked TV station ANN7 Jimmy Manyi, ATM was launched in November last year.
ATM spokesperson Mandisa Mashiya denied the party had any relationship with Magashule.
“Listen, we have definite knowledge that Ace never funded ATM and he was never involved in the formation of the party and that is the only truth that we have got,” she said.
“Why would we, as an independent political party, have anything to do with a member of another political party? We have no personal or even a political relationship with Ace.”