NDLELENI BOYILANE: Dakota Legoete’s opinion belongs in the dustbin
As African National Congress (ANC) members who have been fighting corruption and impunity in the Free State province for years, we are disgusted by Dakota Legoete and his opinion on the charges against the ANC's secretary general, comrade Ace Magashule. We are aware that his accusation that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is fighting political battles is nothing but an attempt to create a frivolous narrative in the public discourse and also influence National Executive Committee (NEC) members towards the crucial upcoming NEC meeting.
Rule 25.17.5 of the ANC constitution stipulates that: “Behaving in a manner or making any utterance which brings or could bring or has the potential to bring or as a consequence thereof brings the ANC into disrepute.”
This opinion piece of Legoete's, which appeared on News24 falls in this category - brings the ANC into disrepute. His long, drivel-laden opinion has gone against upholding the constitution of the ANC. He shamed the ANC and violated the terms of the 54th ANC national conference resolution against corruption.
Perception and messages are crucial for any political party seeking to win the hearts and minds of voters, particularly in an election year. The control of these ideas is a responsibility that falls squarely on all the leaders of the ANC, particularly NEC members.
Contrary to what Legoete wants us to believe, the trite principle of our law “innocent until proven guilty” has been maintained in the criminal matter of the secretary-general as he was processed like any other accused in a case, except that he was not publicly arrested like others and he was released on bail.
Whether Magashule is guilty or not will be determined by the trial, which has not happened yet. And if we have to believe the likes of Legoete, if the case against the secretary-general is indeed weak and if it is the work of his "political opponents who are abusing the NPA", then that is more reason that he has his day in court so that he can be exonerated.
With the resources at his disposal, as already shown through his legal team, Magashule can get the best legal brains so as to "expose" the abuse Legoete is talking about.
It is the attitude and opinions such as these of Legoet that make it difficult for the ANC to reverse a slide in support caused in part by perceptions that the ANC, at its highest echelons, support corrupt individuals - and therefore corruption itself.
The ANC NEC has made public its effort to deal with the matter. However we cannot be held hostage by those who detest revolutionary morality and easily divert the responsibility of the ANC. We expect the NEC to take him to task for making unsubstantiated allegations against our criminal justice system.
The secretary-general stands accused of rampant corruption. He is officially charged and we expect him to go to court and clear his name. It is not flimsy opinions of the likes of Legoete that will acquit Magushule of all the charges against him.
It remains our expectation that the NEC will enforce the ANC constitution and force the secretary-general to step aside, if his conscience continues to escape him.
Magshule has long been accused of corruption, ruthlessness against his opponents and fermenting a culture lacking in accountability in the movement and government. It seems that the same corrupt activities in branches of the ANC in Free State that saw him repeatedly being returned to power has been imported into the government he led, given the charges levelled against him.
Ndleleni Boyilane is a political activist from the Free State province, he writes in his personal capacity as a member of the ANC in good standing.