Suspended ANC secretary general Ace Magashule said on Friday his planned visit to a ward in Musina had never been intended to coincide with the ruling party’s 110-year anniversary celebrations, but had always been scheduled for a later date.
He was reacting to the party’s accusation that he had been trying to insinuate himself into this week’s ANC anniversary programme in defiance of his suspension from his position, which bans him from taking part in ANC events or speaking on behalf of the party.
Magashule, whose face was plastered on a poster with ANC branding advertising his Musina event, said he had been unaware that the organisers used party branding.
“When comrades invited me, I said I will come any other time, not when the event clashes with that part of the ANC January 8. I will still go to that area, that is what I said, because comrades thought I will just come and I said no, there are organisational processes and I think we should just give space to celebrate January 8. Even them, as branches, they must celebrate January 8,” Magashule said, adding that he was still a member of the ANC.
He said his Musina event would include donations. “I have been doing community work. There are soccer teams which I aways donate soccer kits, attire and balls to. I always do that and I will do that even in my area.”
The ANC regional secretary for Vhembe, Rudzani Lubere, directed the branch to suspend Magashule’s visit. The Mail & Guardian understands that some of Magashule’s key allies were also against his appearance.
But he told the M&G that he would be celebrating the ANC’s birthday with his branch in the Free State. “After January 8, we will be celebrating in my branch … because we will be taking orders from national,” he said, wishing the ANC a happy birthday.
Magashule was suspended as the party’s chief administrator after refusing to step aside when he was charged with fraud, corruption and money laundering related to a R255-million asbestos roof audit project in the Free State. He has maintained his innocence, approaching the courts to have the case against him dismissed.