In a tough interview with eNCA’s Samkele Maseko, ANC secretary general Ace Magashule denied any wrongdoings and said any allegations against him must be tested in a court of law.
Magashule is currently battling after finding himself the subject of a newly released book by investigative journalist Pieter-Louis Mybergh, Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule’s Web of Capture.
He says all allegations in the book are lies and that he would be taking legal action against the journalist.
“I am a credible leader in the ANC. I am a product of the struggle. I am not fake,” he said at one point.
He told Maseko that he believed the media was trying to orchestrate a plan to destroy the ANC and that he believed someone was trying to “deal” with him by linking him to corruption.
“I am not corrupt,” he said.
“I can tell you I have never done anything which is unlawful, illegal or unethical,” he claimed at another point in the interview.
Magashule brought up a commission of inquiry set up by Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota back in 1996 which he said cleared him of corruption allegations.
Lekota – still an ANC politician at the time – dismissed Magashule from his position as MEC of economic affairs and tourism amid allegations of corruption.
“Lekota established a commission of inquiry that went on for more than nine months and I was never found by that commission to be corrupt,” Magashule said.
The secretary-general believed he had carried a “stigma” in “the eyes of the public” following this inquiry.
“I didn’t worry about those things because I knew I had not done anything wrong,” he said.
Magashule reacted to another question by claiming that he had always put the ANC first as an organisation before personal concerns.
“I am not this individual who makes a lot of noise and sees wrong in other leaders and runs to the media,” he said, stressing several times that he believed in “collective leadership”.
“I’m part of the organisation,” he added, “I will make sure I will defend the leaders of the ANC when they were under attack.”
Maseko asked if this was a reference to former president Jacob Zuma.
“We have defended anyone who [has] not done any wrong. Until that wrong is proved, at which point that leader will step aside,” Magashule said.
He then said he would, himself, step down if he was found guilty of any wrongdoing in a court of law.
Magashule said as long as the ANC branch that had appointed him did not ask for his removal, he was staying put.
“When branches say out you’re out; when branches say you’re in you’re in,” he said.
Compiled by Daniel Friedman / The Citizen