Several sources have confirmed that Ace Magashule attempted to undermine Cyril Ramaphosa this week, by going rogue with some picks for Parliament. Ramaphosa thwarted Ace’s plot to appoint Zuma loyalists including Bathabile Dlamini, Supra Mahumapelo, Faith Muthambi, and Mosebenzi Zwane to portfolio committees. A report in the Sunday Times details how Ace Magashule allegedly travelled to Cape Town on Wednesday, and planned to announce new appointments to chair parliament’s portfolio committees the following day – despite this not being cleared by national leadership.
Verdeling in die hoofparty, ANC weens gebrek aan “zuma” (of is dit eerder guptas) wat gemis word hier? Guptas is nog nie dood nie. Diegene wat vir hulle is is nog nie weg nie en ook nie vervolg nie, waarom nie? Omdat dit die ANC self pas soos ‘n handskoen, met al die korrupsie – of dink sekere mense hulle is nou bo hul eie wetgewings en grondwet verhewe?
According to a recent news report, ANC KwaZulu-Natal chair, Sihle Zikalala, is trying to put a stop to plans to revolt against its leader, President Cyril Ramaphosa. There is allegedly a plot to call for the president’s removal at the party’s next national general council.
Magashule reportedly attempted to “capture parliament” through a caucus meeting while Ramaphosa and key cabinet members were attending a lekgotla in Pretoria. The agenda of the caucus meeting included “deployment to portfolio committees and whippery”.
When Ramaphosa found out, he put the breaks on Magashule’s plans, sources told the publication. The meeting was cancelled and the matter will now be finalised at a special NEC meeting in Cape Town on Tuesday.
Magashule’s plans allegedly included the take-over of two key portfolio committees – the political and strategy committees – through the appointment of Zuma allies including Bathabile Dlamini, Sdumo Dlamini and Njabulo Nzuza. The ANC secretary general and his allies also reportedly wanted control of the public enterprises committee to stop Ramaphosa’s proposed unbundling of Eskom.
The report further alleges that part of Magashule’s “coup” attempt involved a bid to shield public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane from impeachment. A list of portfolio committee chairs was approved by the ANC top six, but lobbying reportedly continued after the top six meeting, and insiders say Magashule was attempting to “force certain names” onto the list.
These included Zuma loyalists Supra Mahumapelo, Faith Muthambi, and Mosebenzi Zwane. Magashule said the cancelation of the caucus meeting was due to him not being ready to make his presentation.
Presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko declined to comment. This move by Magashule follows his apparent challenge to Ramaphosa over the Reserve Bank.
Magashule claimed the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) lekgotla had decided the government must expand the SA Reserve Bank (Sarb) mandate to include economic growth and employment.
He said all party deployees were expected to implement the decisions of the ANC 54th national conference – and that included the expansion of the bank’s mandate.
But moderates at the lekgotla, represented by Godongwana and Mboweni, vowed to oppose any attempt to expand that mandate beyond what it was presently. They insisted on a market-driven approach to the economy. They were supported by strong statements from Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago, who emphasised the importance of maintaining the independence and impartiality of the central bank.
Ramaphosa responded to Magashule’s reserve bank statement with a statement of his own, in his capacity as ANC leader and supposedly on behalf of the movement’s top six.
“The officials viewed the recent public spats about the mandate of the SA Reserve Bank as not being helpful, and mitigating and undermining the confidence of citizens and of investors,” he said.
“It is our desire for the South African Reserve Bank to be publicly owned. However, we recognise that this will come at a cost, which given our current economic and fiscal position, is simply not prudent,” he added.
Following Ramaphosa’s statement, Magashule allegedly briefly contradicted him publicly on Twitter in a tweet that has since been deleted. Magashule has said screenshots that were supposedly quickly taken of his tweet are “fake”, which not everyone believed at the time.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman. Background reporting, Eric Naki and Charles Cilliers)
How Ace Magashule planned his “coup”
The suggestion was also made by DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen, who revealed earlier in the week that he had acquired information that Ace Magashule “would be taking control of Parliament”:
“The president is certainly not in control of Parliament. Just watch who gets elected as committee chairs. My information is that Cyril will get the executive, but Magashule will be taking control of Parliament. This will have significant consequences for any reform agenda Ramaphosa goes for.”
Ten MPs – for better or worse – have already resigned in the last month, with controversial figures like Nomvula Mokonyane and Bathabile Dlamini being ejected from the Cabinet. However, Ace remains in a position of unrelenting power, and it has emerged he tried to make one more desperate powerplay to cement his status.