Magashule dismisses ‘poison plot’ as ‘nonsense’

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule briefs media at Luthuli House in Johannesburg, 29 May 2018, on the Post ANC NEC meeting. Photo: Nigel Sibanda

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule has dismissed a Sunday Times report alleging that businessman Chris Ackeer, described in the story as Magashule’s right-hand man, survived a plot to poison him.

Speaking to The Citizen, Magashule said these reports, which also alleged that there was a climate of fear in the Free State with those who are suspected of leaking information on the ANC secretary general in possible danger, were “nonsense”.

It was reported that CEO of Tecnovia South Africa Ackeer – who was released from a hospital in Gauteng on Friday – is the second of Magashule’s associates to be poisoned. Sandile Msibi, who was head of the Free State department of police, safety and transport, passed away after being poisoned in December, 2017.

Magashule said at Msibi’s funeral that he had been “murdered”.

It is unclear whether Magashule was saying the reports that Ackeer was poisoned were “nonsense” or if he acknowledges the poisoning took place but denies any connection between what happened and himself. The Citizen tried to reach Magashule for clarification and had been unsuccessful in doing so at the time of publication.

Ackeer told The Sunday Times it was confirmed that poison was behind his illness at the hospital.

A government official told the publication that Ackeer was lucky to have made it out alive as “no-one survives poisoning” in the Free State.

In a phone call between Magashule and The Citizen on Sunday, the ANC secretary general rubbished a number of recent allegations.

The Sunday Times report was not the only one from this past weekend that levelled accusations at Magashule.

In a report in City Press on Sunday, an anonymous senior party leader in the ANC is quoted alleging that there was “evidence” that ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule had doctored the list of names submitted to the Independent Electoral Commission for who would represent the ANC in parliament.

“There is documentation that he changed a name,” the source reportedly told the Sunday paper.

Magashule dismissed the claims as “nonsense” just as he did the “poison plot” report. He added that the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) had expressed confidence in the bona fides of the final list.

Compiled by Daniel Friedman / Background reporting Charles Cilliers / The Citizen