ANC branches in the Free State have thrown their weight behind the embattled ANC Secretary-General (SG) and former premier, Ace Magashule, amidst talks of ousting him.
OFM News reports that the leaders of five ANC regions held a media briefing on Monday night to reaffirm their unwavering support for Magashule following the analysis and discussions of a step-aside policy by the ANC.
Speaking on behalf of the branches in the province, Brutus Mahlaku, who is the acting regional secretary of the Fezile Dabi Region in the province, says without any fear of contradiction they disagree with any intention to remove Magashule. Mahlaku says the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ANC must take the branches of the party seriously and value their input towards a strong ANC.
This comes after rife talks over the weekend that there are plans to axe Magashule, who is facing corruption charges over the failed R225 million asbestos project.
“They want to ensure that every leader contesting (“CR17″) is harassed and neutralised. I think this is what we have observed and uncovered. Leaders who are advocating for radical economic transformation must get arrested through trumped-up charges and this has happened with the SG,” he adds.
Earlier, the ANC NEC said the decision was sent to branches to deal with it. This, after the party was heavily divided on this policy following calls that Magashule should step aside amidst his corruption case in the High Court in Bloemfontein.
“In the beginning of March 2021, the NEC asked that the branches make inputs on the step-aside issue, and like all other policy positions of the ANC, the NEC did not intend to value the inputs by branches of the ANC hence they continue to deliberate on this matter which is not part of their competency.
“It has become a norm under the current leadership but we cannot blame the collective when the president inculcates a culture of talking to structures of the ANC through the media and open letters,” Mahlaku adds.
The ANC Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) in the province previously came out strong and also reaffirmed its support for Magashule, despite the backlash. The ANC Provincial Secretary, Paseka Nompomdo, in a statement said the PEC is supporting Magashule in what he terms as difficult times based on the presumption of innocent until proven otherwise.
Nompondo further urged the NEC to assist in uniting the party through its action and to also ensure that the ANC speaks with one voice.