Claims on Ace Magashule ‘fake news’, says ANC

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule holds a media briefing to discuss the outcomes of its four-day National Executive Committee meeting at Luthuli House, Johannesburg, 2 October, 2019. Picture: Emmanuel Croset

The ruling party says the social media claims come from ‘wedge-drivers’ who are trying to undermine the collective resolve and unity of its leadership.

The African National Congress (ANC) has condemned reports claiming its secretary-general, Ace Magashule, has distanced the party from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s letter on corruption.

Social media accounts had been spreading the reports as breaking news, with one claiming: “ANC SG Ace Magashule says Cyril Ramaphosa letter to ANC members especially those who are embroiled in PPE tender corruption doesn’t represent ANC. Magashule went further said: ‘Only the office of the Secretary has power to release letter to members’.”

But the ruling party says it’s all lies.

“We are aware that detractors thrive on divisions and despise harmony. It is clear that wedge-drivers who hate to see a united ANC are now on overdrive trying everything possible to undermine the collective resolve and unity of our leadership to fight corruption where ever it raises its ugly head.”

In fact, contents in Ramaphosa’s letter reflect resolutions and sentiments expressed by its 54th National Conference, it said.

“We urge our structures and members to remain vigilant and defend the unity of their organisation against those who seek to weaken the ANC. The unity of our movement remains sacrosanct,” the party said in a statement on Monday.

In a letter to ANC members of the party on Sunday, Ramaphosa labelled reports of corruption related to the Covid-19 relief fund as “an unforgivable betrayal to millions of South Africans”.

It reads in part: “As the inheritors of the legacy of Luthuli, Tambo and Mandela, we must be honest with ourselves. We must acknowledge that our movement, (the ANC), has been and remains deeply implicated in South Africa’s corruption problem.

“Today, the ANC and its leaders stand accused of corruption. The ANC may not stand alone in the dock, but it does stand as accused number one. This is the start reality that we must now confront.

“We are acting swiftly to end Covid-19 related corruption and bring those responsible to book. This includes the establishment of a multi-agency centre that coordinates the work of several investigative and prosecutorial bodies in detecting and acting against any criminal activities. We have empowered the Special Investigating Unit to probe any alleged corruption or misuse of Covid resources in any department, province, municipality or state institute. To promote transparency, we are publishing the details of all tenders awarded under the national state disaster.”

Also read: ANC members accused of corruption ‘must change their ways or leave’, asserts Ramaphosa

The president further called on all ANC members to make regular declarations of financial interests and the party to develop clear policy on ANC leaders and their family members doing business with government.

“Those who fail to give acceptable explanation, or to voluntarily step down while they face disciplinary action, be suspended. The party should publicly disassociate itself from anyone, whether donor, supporter or member, accused of or reported to be involved in corruption.”

Meanwhile, The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has reportedly called on Ramaphosa to “heed his own call and step down from public office until corruption allegations against him are resolved”.

Also read: Ramaphosa’s anti-corruption call just a feeble ‘PR exercise’

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