WATCH: ‘Hands off Ace Magashule’ branded taxis raise questions

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule arrives at Walter Sisulu Square in Soweto, 7 March 2021, as part of ANC national officials countrywide celebrations of 150 years of Charlotte Maxeke. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

A fleet of taxis in the Limpopo’s Mopani district labelled “Hands off Ace Magashule” has raised a few eyebrows and more than a few questions.

The Citizen reports, this comes amid allegations of a fightback plan by ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule and former president Jacob Zuma’s supporters.

The secretary-general appears to be digging in his heels against the ANC national executive committee’s (NEC’s) decision that leaders who are criminally charged should step aside from their positions. He is facing corruption-related charges and is out on R200,000 bail.

He is meant to be consulting with the party’s former leaders as the deadline for him to step aside at the end of the month draws closer.

The branded taxis follow weekend reports claiming Magashule’s supporters are planning a national shutdown in response to the NEC’s decision.

“You can see them, they’re ready. Some are on their way – 30 of them. We will travel everywhere in South Africa – all the provinces. We’re not playing any more. From Limpopo to all the branches in every province to support our leaders no matter what,” says the man taking the video of the branded taxis in Mopani.

The branded taxis have caused a stir on social media, with former tourism minister Derek Hanekom questioning the source of the funds for the planned activities.

ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile has dismissed reports of a national shutdown, while Umkhonto weSizwe spokesperson Carl Niehaus slammed them as a “malicious propaganda campaign” meant to “create an environment for undemocratic repression”.

Magashule’s supporters claim the secretary-general is being persecuted for his stance on radical economic transformation (RET) and fighting for the black child.

READ MORE: All Zuma and Ace did was fight for the black child, says Free State RET Forces

Speaking in Kliptown on Tuesday at the 150th commemoration event for struggle stalwart Charlotte Maxeke, Magashule defended RET, saying it’s a party policy that cannot be changed.

His comments come after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the NEC had decided that no ANC members could associate with the so-called radical economic transformation faction in the party. The faction is seen as loyal to Magashule.

The Citizen/Additional reporting by News24 Wire