ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule says he is not stressed about this week’s national executive committee (NEC) decision that ANC members accused of corruption must step aside within 30 days or face suspension.
“What is there to stress about? Have you seen me stressed?” Magashule asked journalists on Wednesday in Naledi, Soweto. He was in Naledi to plant 100 trees as part of his pledge earlier this year to donate trees to the community during campaigning for by-elections.
This was Magashule’s first public appearance since the NEC met at the weekend and took the decision to implement the ANC’s 54th national conference resolution on the party’s so-called “step aside” guidelines. The adopted rules could see Magashule and several other party members step down until the finalisation of their cases.
Magashule faces 21 charges of fraud and corruption for his alleged role in the multimillion-rand asbestos audit contract scandal related to his tenure as the premier of the Free State. He is out on R200,000 bail.
He said he would abide by the decisions of the NEC, which is the ANC’s highest decision-making body in between conferences.
“As a member of the ANC, leader and secretary-general I respect the decisions of the collective,” he said.
Magashule to meet with Mathews Phosa first
The ANC secretary-general confirmed he would soon consult with former presidents Thabo Mbeki, Kgalema Motlanthe and Jacob Zuma as well as former ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa on the party’s “step aside” guidelines.
He said he would first meet with Phosa on 11 April 2021 and Zuma would be next on his list.
“I’m still going to talk to president [Thabo] Mbeki and comrade Kgalema [Motlanthe],” he said.
Asked what was there to consult about when the ANC’s resolutions were clear, Magashule said: “Don’t worry, leave ANC matters to the ANC. You can see that I’m not stressing, I’m a member of the ANC and its secretary-general. What else do you want guys? The president has expressed the decisions of the NEC.”
On allegations that his allies in ANC planned to resign en masse to force an early elective national conference, Magashule shot down the rumours and vowed to remain a member of the governing party.
“I will never establish any new party. I will never go anywhere to join any other party. I will live and die in the ANC,” he said. “I’ve been there in the struggle; I did not join the struggle yesterday. I’ve remained a loyal member of the ANC. I’ve served the ANC with dignity, respect and discipline. My blood will forever remain black, green and gold.”
Magashule also said he would not challenge the NEC decision in court.
“You don’t resolve ANC matters through the courts of law. You resolve political matters through politics,” he said.