However, Congress of the People secretary-general Papi Kganare said Magashule was incapable of staging a Zuma-like public display to undermine the judiciary because he did not have grassroots support.
As the Hawks circle, ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule looks to be preparing for a “Stalingrad defence” against criminal charges, but his political opponents believe he doesn’t have the clout to pull it off the way former president Jacob Zuma is doing.
And by openly making a play for sympathy and marshalling supporters even before he is charged, Magashule is going out on a limb politically at a time when President Cyril Ramaphosa has regained much of his political strength through being seen to follow through on promises to tackle corruption.
Political analyst Prof Andre Duvenhage, from North West University, said Magashule, as Zuma’s close ally, would possibly have access to Zuma’s traditional supporters in the ANC Youth League, ANC Women’s League and the premier league provinces of Free State, Mpumalanga, North West and KwaZulu-Natal.
“He will do the Zuma thing – he will opt for the Stalingrad strategy and fight to the bitter end. His support goes beyond Free State into North West, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal,” Duvenhage said. The analyst said Magashule had always been aware that police would go for him at some stage and had been mobilising political support since being elected as ANC secretary-general.
However, Magashule’s opponents in the Free State had a different view. They believe he is a political manipulator who relied on a corruption patronage network that would not help him in his future trial, in the manner that Zuma did.
Congress of the People secretary-general Papi Kganare said Magashule was incapable of staging a Zuma-like public display to undermine the judiciary because he did not have grassroots support.
He said Magashule would only escape because he wouldn’t be found guilty as the National Prosecuting Authority ( NPA) was likely to bungle the case as it did with the first arrests around the Estina Dairy project in Vrede. In the Vrede matter, the case against a group of Gupta-linked businesspeople was conditionally withdrawn by the court and Kganare believed the matter would never be reinstated because the judiciary in the Free State was in the pockets of the ANC.
Like his hero, Zuma, Magashule enjoyed the backing of the supporters of radical economic transformation (RET), a tiny group within the ANC aligned to Magashule himself and elements of the uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans’ Association. Kganare, a former MEC for both education and safety and security in the Free State, believed Magashule has no support at all.
At the time the Scorpions were disbanded after Thabo Mbeki was recalled by Zuma supporters post-Polokwane, the elite corruption busting unit was preparing to arrest Magashule for his suspected graft activities during his time as MEC.
Kganare said Magashule’s arrest was long overdue.
“Why was he not arrested a long time ago? The problem is not Ace, but the corrupt police,” Kganare said.
When news emerged recently that the Hawks had obtained an arrest warrant for Magashule, there was an excitement among activists in the Free State.
“Now the wheels are coming off. The Hawks are doing their job,” said Kganare.
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