ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule’s previous move to undermine President Cyril Ramaphosa’s leadership and suggestion that the Jacob Zuma camp would be back in power in five years, disqualified him from leading attempts to end conflict among party rank and file, a political analyst has said.
University of the Free State’s Sociology Head, Dr Sethulego Matebesi, said Magashule is conflicted because he assured former President Jacob Zuma’s followers that the ANC leadership elected at Nasrec in December would only serve one term.
Magashule made a post-national conference statement that it would take five years for people “to win back the ANC”.
The statement was pregnant with meaning as it implied that the newly elected leadership led by Ramaphosa were not the real ANC and that the Zuma followers would come back and take power in the next ANC term.
Reacting to the election of Magashule’s allies into the new ANC Free State provincial executive committee (PEC) at the weekend, Matebesi said the secretary-general had become a referee and a player in the ongoing conflicts among members of the Free State ANC.
He appeared to be playing a similar role in North West and KwaZulu-Natal provinces, Matebesi added.
“He knows that he gave a go-ahead for the Free State and KZN provincial conferences although there were unresolved issues. He was prepared to deal with the consequences.
“Why the ANC let its secretary-general lead this process when they know he is compromised is mind-boggling.”
If the ANC was serious about resolving the infighting among its members, it would avoid using Magashule to do the task.
“I have no doubt that Magashule has a hand in what is happening in the Free State because he has a vested interest in the issue.”
Magashule was not qualified to preside over attempts aimed at uniting party structures in the three provinces because he had a vested interest for the status quo to remain. “Using him to handle the tensions or attempt to resolve the conflicts wouldn’t work.”
According to Matebesi, although the concerned ANC members in the Free State may be dismissed as “disgruntled”, they had a point and they deserved to be heard. But Luthuli House had so far failed to facilitate an amicable solution to the problem and instead it let Magashule direct what should happen.
He said although the top five of the new Free State PEC were Magashule’s sycophants, the ANC national executive committee kept a blind eye.
“I don’t understand why there are no consequences for those who disregard the court rulings,” said Matebesi, adding that Ramaphosa would face a “huge battle” dealing with factionalism because it is entrenched at all levels of the ANC. – Eric Naki/The Citizen