OMRY MAKGOALE: The ANC secretary-general - from bad to worse
From the Polokwane elective conference in December 2007, the ANC under Gwede Mantashe marked a rapid decline. It was a sharp spiral downwards, marked by the capture of ANC by unscrupulous tenderpreneurs and their rise to power.
Disciplined former MK veterans were isolated and marginalised by the former exile leadership and feared by the internal mass movement leadership, who blocked ANC members from receiving the analysis and participation of the most experienced and tested detachment of the liberation movement.
The Guptas made inroads into ANC structures, giving money to most ANC bodies such as the MKMVA led by its ridiculous appointee Kebby Maphatsoe, and to certain mining companies, while giving shares to the MKMVA Trust without ensuring that ordinary MK veterans received any of the benefits.
When a delegation of the MK commissariat (established in Brits 2011) consisting of Alex Mashinini, Solly Simelane, Susan Ribbon Mosholi and Obbey Mabena met with the ANC top six - the engine room of ANC activity, consisting of President Zuma, Kgalema Motlanthe as deputy president, chairperson Baleka Mbete, secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, as well as Thandi Modise as deputy secretary-general - and raised with them the issue of corruption in MKMVA, the message landed on deaf ears.
Whether it was because these officials were all corrupt, or captured, or just scared of former President Zuma, nobody can tell, but these top ANC officials did not act against the wrong perpetrated by the MKMVA leadership against MK members till today. It was rumoured that some of the top six were beneficiaries of the MKMVA Trust. It is now alleged that Gwede Mantashe was feeding from the trough of the Watson family, the former owners of Bosasa Security, who installed security cameras at his properties, according to Angelo Agrizzi, the former COO of Bosasa.
The commissariat ultimately took the legal route. Mantashe issued a threat saying that those who took the ANC to court must consider themselves expelled from the ANC. We waited for disciplinary action, hoping to ask Mantashe whether taking thieves to court was the same as taking the ANC to court. We wanted to establish whether the top six of the ANC equated the ANC with thieves. Was there any ANC clause they knew of that said leaders may steal with impunity and must not be taken to court?
What happened was that we were disabled from operating in the branches in a subtle way. Either your first name or surname was misspelt in the branch register and you were thereby not allowed to be a delegate in the branch general meeting, and only allowed in as an observer.
Mantashe as secretary-general presided over the downright decay of ANC when the Guptas took over strategic ANC structures such as the Youth and Women's Leagues, as well as the government and the state. Instead of defending the ANC, Mantashe was a facilitator of ANC and state capture.
When the four major banks of South Africa - First National Bank, Absa, Standard Bank and Nedbank - decided to close the Guptas' Oakbay accounts and other Gupta-related accounts, Mantashe summoned the banks to Luthuli House and demanded answers from them on behalf of the Guptas: an extraordinary act by a representative governing political party anywhere in the world.
Was he acting as a lieutenant of the Guptas, or just puppet of the Guptas? This was the man at the heart of the ANC administration doing the dirty work for this merchant family from India.
When Fikile Mbalula raised the issue in the NEC of the Guptas informing him of his appointment as a deputy minister of police, there was stern silence, according to him. Except for one rogue member of the NEC who dressed him down, the rest were as silent as a graveyard at night.
Then in came Ace Magashule at the Nasrec national elective conference in December 2017. Magashule will probably go down as the worst SG in the history of ANC. He was not even democratically elected in the Free State in the last two elective provincial conferences.
Firstly, before the Mangaung national elective conference in 2012, ANC members in the Free State under MK veteran Mpho Ramakatsa successfully took the FS provincial elective conference (headed by Magashule) to the Constitutional Court. The Free State's elective results were annulled by the court, and Magashule was forced to attend the Mangaung elective conference a few days later as a mere observer, while faking to be a branch delegate.
At the Nasrec elective conference five years later, Zuma and Gupta appointees elected Magashule to the crucial executive position as SG to safeguard the Zuma-Gupta power bloc, despite the fact he had no mandate from the Free State ANC.
Having been elected as SG, appointed by the Zuma-Gupta bloc, he is already campaigning to remove the incumbent president Cyril Ramaphosa. While addressing a recent KZN Youth League meeting in Pietermaritzburg last year, he stated, "It is just a matter of five years, comrades, we will be back and ANC will be restored." Does anyone doubt what he means when he referred to those who criticise his corrupt regime as "the enemies"?
Magashule recently attended a closed meeting with former President Zuma in the Maharani Hotel in Durban, along with the former premier and chairperson in North West province Supra Mahumapelo, who was recently ousted through mass actions, together with Meokgo Matuba (the SG of the Womens League) and Thanduxolo Sabelo, the KZN SG of the Youth League who is aspiring to be replace Collen Maine as national leader of the league.
It is important to note that all those who attended were supporters of the Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma slate at Nasrec. It is obvious they are planning a comeback. The role of Magashule is clear for all to see. He wants to remove Ramaphosa and replace him with the Guptas' inspired slate or at least a supporter of those who attended the Maharani Hotel meeting.
The new book written by Pieter Louis Myburgh, entitled Gangster State – Unravelling Ace Magashule's Web of Capture in the Free State, claims that Magashule was demanding 10% for himself from every tender allocated by the Free State government. It is alleged he wanted to employ all employees of the Free State government, starting with the cleaners.
Magashule recently sent a cooked-up list of ANC candidates to the Independent Electoral Commission before screening by the ANC Integrity Commission. This has led to complaints about the candidate lists, with veterans writing an appeal letter to the implicated candidates to recuse themselves in the interests of ANC.
The integrity of the ANC secretary-general defines the quality of the party at any given time.
Magashule must step aside as secretary-general until his name is cleared by the Integrity Commission. He represents the bottom of the pit in the annals of ANC secretary-general.
This is a life and death struggle for democracy and the rule of law in South Africa.
It is an issue for all ANC members across the whole country, and for every voter. We must make our voices heard.
Omry Makgoale is a rank and file member of the ANC. These are his personal views.