The heat is on Ace so he’s trying to stay out of jail Zuma-style

Ideas

The heat is on Ace so he’s trying to stay out of jail Zuma-style

Magashule is running a desperate victimhood campaign because Cyril's clean-up drive is headed his way

Columnist


You should have seen Ace Magashule on Saturday. He was indignant. He was angry. Like an individual to whom a grave wrong has been done, he nearly frothed at the mouth.
The ANC’s discredited, scandal-soaked secretary-general stood in front of television cameras and claimed that state organs are being used to fight internal ANC political battles. He said both his phone and that of his deputy, Jessie Duarte, were tapped. He did not offer any evidence for this, of course, or tell us to what end this was being done.
Right behind Magashule as he whined and whinged was a man wearing a white ANC cap. As Magashule claimed he knew he was being tapped the man pulled his cap further down over his face. He was right to do so, because that man knew that Magashule merely had to turn around to him to be told that he was talking utter nonsense.
The man standing behind Magashule was David Mahlobo, the political lightweight plucked by former president Jacob Zuma from obscurity in Mpumalanga five years ago and handed the delicate job of state security minister.
We now know why Mahlobo was chosen by Zuma. In March, President Cyril Ramaphosa released the findings of his high-level review of the intelligence agencies and we learnt that elements of the State Security Agency were “repurposed” and used to fight factional ANC political battles. The review said former state security ministers Siyabonga Cwele and Mahlobo and others were complicit in what the panel described as “executive overspill in the last decade or so”.
Let’s break that down: these people were using intelligence agency slush funds, personnel and equipment as their own personal fiefdom. They were running a private spying agency. Did Magashule say a word? No.
Now it is all unravelling, and the likes of Magashule – who has since 2009 used his premiership of the Free State and his leadership of the ANC in that province to defend Zuma – are feeling the heat. Law enforcement agencies are sniffing around the many deals that Magashule oversaw for his cronies.
That is why our man from the Free State is now claiming harassment by the law enforcement agencies. The truth is that there is no harassment here. Magashule is running a Zuma-style “victimhood campaign” to stay out of jail.
The heat is on. Think of the unravelling of the Zuma-era thieving project over the past year of Ramaphosa’s tenure. The intelligence agencies have been freed of the malign grip of the likes of Mahlobo. Last week, Ramaphosa fired two former deputy heads of the National Prosecuting Authority who were responsible for the lack of prosecutions on key cases. That clean-up continues and is cemented by the appointed of Shamila Batohi to the top post at that institution. Tom Moyane has been fired from Sars.
A similar clean-up is taking place at state-owned agencies, government departments and elsewhere. It must be a terrifying time for the Zuma-Gupta gang as, one by one, their carefully laid out dominoes fall.
Last Friday it was reported that Magashule said he wants EFF leader Julius Malema to return to the ANC.
“I love Julius. I am talking to him to return home,” Magashule said. Why? Magashule and his lieutenants are trying to enlist Malema, who has also had problems with agencies such as the SA Revenue Services and still hasn’t appeared in court on allegations of corruption in Limpopo, to bolster their fightback campaign within the ANC. Malema should not fall for it.
All this of course plays into the calls by many, such as the Economist magazine last week, for voters to endorse Ramaphosa on May 8 by voting for the ANC. Many voters absolutely balk at this: who in their right mind wants to vote for the party of Magashule and Zuma? That’s who you end up voting for when you vote for Ramaphosa.
Yet, at the same time, one knows that Magashule is terrified of the Ramaphosa clean-up. The entire Magashule-Zuma faction of the ANC is in meltdown because their project to dismantle our institutions of accountability and of state has been frustrated and is being demolished. The looting machine is dying. One knows that an emboldened Ramaphosa will continue to strengthen institutions that will ensure that the “nine wasted years” of Zuma are reversed.Those living overseas voted on Friday and had to face the dilemma of this two-faced ANC. Others did not bother themselves with this dilemma. They voted for other parties. Why, after all, should the ANC’s internal problems hover so hugely over the fate of the nation?The bulk of South Africans make their electoral choice next week. This is a week to reflect deeply before entering that voting station. Our children will judge us harshly if we return the Magashules of this world to power on May 8. My choice? Next week, perhaps.

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