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South Africa: Does Ace Magashule have a plan?

By The Africa Report
Posted on Friday, 4 June 2021 09:33

African National Congress Secretary General Ace Magashule is defending himself after a new book talks about his time as Free State premier. REUTERS/Rogan

Only the most dedicated supporters of the African National Congress' (ANC) had suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule and former party president Jacob Zuma -- the very two who are still fighting against Ramaphosa.

However, it seems that Zuma and Magashule have stopped agreeing over tactics, as Zuma no longer believes Magashule should fight his suspension in court.

Both men face numerous legal battles other than the pending charges of extensive corruption:

  • On 25 may, Zuma was in court facing corruption charges linked to state arms procurement in the 1990s.
  • In August, Magashule will be in court to fight against charges of corruption dating back to when he was Premier of the Free State.

The fightback plan

Zuma and Magashule’s plan was to “mobilise the branches against Ramaphosa and his allies, running campaigns ahead of the key party conferences, then regaining control of the party’s top decision-making bodies,” say Africa Confidential. 

Guerrilla-style politics seemed most likely to be successful, as they could take advantage of the rising unemployment and dire economic conditions in the country. However, Magashule’s suspension means he does not have the political power needed to mobilise through support from the party.

As a result, Magashule is focussing on legally overturning his suspension. “But “Ramaphosa and his team do not expect an easy or immediate victory,” says a lawyer with knowledge of the case,” according to Africa Confidential. 

Magashule’s chosen lawyer Dali Mpofu is extremely high-profile and has been critical of Ramaphosa’s leading of the party. He has also represented other dissidents in the ANC in the past.

The legal costs

The party has been struggling financially, so it seems that Ramaphosa will have to step in to foot the bill. Magashule, on the other hand, is not as well-off as Ramaphosa, so it is unclear as to how he will pay for his legal fees.

Bottom line

Magashule seems to be putting all his eggs in the basket of overturning his suspension in court, but it is not clear that he can afford to do this. The rift this is causing between himself and Zuma could be detrimental to the two individuals.

The full article can be found on Africa Confidential. 

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