ACE CHILLED ABOUT BIG DAY IN COURT

Lungani Zungu

Ace Magashule says he is relaxed ahead of his court appearance on Friday.

In a brief interview with Scrolla.Africa, the ANC secretary-general said: “I will not retreat at this stage. I’ll fight on because the target is not me but the ANC. My job as the secretary-general is to defend the ANC against its enemies whether from outside or within the ANC.” 

His warrant of arrest in connection with the R255-million asbestos contract in the Free State, was confirmed by the Hawks earlier this week, ending weeks of speculation about his arrest.

Magashule said he was a law-abiding citizen and would go to court on Friday. 

He warned the warring factions in the ANC not to divide the party in his name. 

“As a secretary-general my job is to unite the members of the ANC at all costs,” he said.

“The enemy will be happy to see us divided,” said Magashule. 

His warrant of arrest has evidently deepened the divisions in the ruling-ANC. One side is backing Magashule, while the other is calling for him to step down amid the charges of corruption. 

A defiant Magashule said he will not step down, arguing that he was elected by the branches of the ANC during the 2017 elective conference. This is in spite of an NEC resolution that leaders charged with corruption must step aside while their cases are ongoing.

“I will clear my name and continue with the job I was elected to do. I’ll not allow factional elements in the party to take advantage of me because of the warrant of arrest against me,” Magashule said.

Asked how he felt ahead of his court appearance, he said: “I’m relaxed.”

Magashule’s warrant of arrest was issued in relation to a multi-million rand tender awarded to Edwin Sodi, during Magashule’s tenure as the premier of Free State. He held the post of premier from 2009 until 2018 when he took up the full-time position of secretary-general at Luthuli House, the ANC’s headquarters. 

Magashule, a die-hard former president Jacob Zuma ally, said his hands are clean, adding that he would come out of this unscathed.