The battle for power within the ANC continues, and Ace Magashule just won’t back down.
The party is clearly an absolute mess at the moment (read this stinging takedown for confirmation), as it’s pulled in opposite directions by power players who seek very different outcomes.
In the one corner is President Cyril Ramaphosa, trying to bring about that ‘New Dawn’ we would all love to wake up to, whilst in the other sits secretary-general Ace Magashule, a crook seeking to protect his fellow crooks.
This past week saw Ramaphosa swing into action to quell what the Sunday Times called a Magashule plot to engineer a “parliamentary coup”:
Magashule’s move could have seen crucial parliamentary committee posts going to loyalists – many of them supporters of SA’s former president Jacob Zuma…
If successful, the anti-Ramaphosa figures, many of them implicated in state capture and corruption, would have held sway in parliament, potentially frustrating any legislation Ramaphosa might have proposed in his ongoing reform and cleanup drive.
The “coup” attempt is the latest chapter in a saga of defiance in which Magashule has emerged as the principal ANC obstruction to Ramaphosa’s New Dawn.
The names of the Magashule choices for top posts in parliament reads like a who’s who of state capture and incompetence – former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo, former communications minister Faith Muthambi [below], and former mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane.
Last Wednesday, Magashule travelled to Cape Town, where he planned to announce new portfolio committee chairs the following day. The president, along with other senior party members, were completely blindsided:
The timing of Magashule’s ANC caucus meeting raised eyebrows as Ramaphosa, his ministers and their deputies were attending a cabinet lekgotla in Pretoria on Thursday.
Well-placed sources said Ramaphosa stopped Magashule in his tracks after his office was alerted by his parliamentary counsellor, Gerhard Koornhof, on Wednesday. He apparently told Ramaphosa that Magashule was set to announce the new chairs of portfolio committees and the whippery on Thursday – even though they had not been endorsed by the national leadership.
The move was seen as part of a fightback by Magashule and his supporters after some of them were overlooked for ministerial and deputy minister positions. In retaliation for their exclusion, Magashule’s supporters in the ANC vowed to “capture parliament”.
It’s like a bad sequel to a movie that nobody liked the first time around.
Once Koornhof let the cat out of the bag, Ramaphosa had to move swiftly, fearing that Magashule would simply name whoever he wanted for the list of portfolio chairs:
Two sources close to the president and parliamentary insiders said his office ordered ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina to halt the caucus meeting scheduled for 10am on Thursday.
Some MPs were in buses transporting them to parliament when they received notice of the cancellation.
“There was an impression that he wanted to force through certain names that were not yet agreed upon. Yes, there was a concern people would be slipped in by the secretary-general while the president and his deputy focused on the lekgotla,” said one source.
Magashule also wanted to ensure that he had allies controlling powerful structures such as the justice committee, the finance committee, and the public enterprises committee, so they can thwart Ramaphosa’s Eskom plans.
With the caucus meeting being cancelled, the matter was deferred until this week, with five new MPs expected to be sworn in today.
I guess we should expect more warfare in the not too distant future.
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