Lekota sticks to his claim that Magashule stole from the public purse in 1996

Mosiuoa Lekota says South Africans should not allow Ace Magashule to mislead them because he is corrupt to the core.

FILE: Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Congress of the People (Cope) leader Mosiuoa Lekota says he sticks to his tweets in which he says he caught Free State Premier Ace Magashule stealing money from the public purse back in 1996.

Lekota was premier of the province at the time while Magashule was economic development MEC.

He says South Africans should not allow Magashule to mislead them because he is corrupt to the core.

When a radio station tweeted a quote from Magashule saying the African National Congress in the Free State was more divided when Lekota was premier, the Cope leader quickly responded with a series of tweets saying: “Ace Magashule is misleading you. When Ace was an MEC in my Cabinet, I caught him stealing money from the provincial government”.

He says he soon dismissed Magashule but President Jacob Zuma, who was then chairperson of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, was deployed to solve the Magashule issue in the Free State.

Lekota then says he was asked to keep the matter under wraps but he refused.

He says the divisions Magashule was talking about were caused by his theft and ANC leaders being torn on whether he should be punished.

“It is not like he had a different view to mine or something, he was a thief and I caught the thief stealing public funds.”

Lekota says the matter was never covered up and ANC leaders, including former president Nelson Mandela, knew about it.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)