'Leave that to me & the ANC,' says Magashule when asked if he'll step aside

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule, in his first public engagement since the national executive committee decision, told journalists he was not stressed and he spent part of the morning planting trees in Soweto.

African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Ace Magashule plant trees in Soweto, Johannesburg on 31 March 2021. Picture: Boikhutso Ntsoko/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG — Embattled African National Congress (ANC) secretary general Ace Magashule on Wednesday said the party must be given time and space to do its work and has refused to be drawn into commenting on whether he will step aside from his role in the next 30 days.

Magashule is one of several leaders expected to step aside as per the party’s 2017 Nasrec conference resolution but said that matter should be left to the party.

He is facing corruption charges over the failed asbestos project in the Free State during his tenure as premier.

Magashule, in his first public engagement since the ANC’s national executive committee decision, told journalists he was not stressed and he spent part of the morning planting trees in Soweto.

He may be charting his way through deep waters but he appeared calm and jovial when he arrived in Naledi on Wednesday.

READ: 'I'm not stressed, I'm still the ANC secretary-general,' says Magashule

Planting trees in some houses and meeting with community members, he also took some time to chat with journalists.

WATCH: ’I am going nowhere - my blood is black green and gold’ - Ace Magashule

And while some claim he is already plotting a fight back, he said there was no intention to not abide by the Nasrec conference resolutions.

But when asked whether he will step aside, he had to said: “Leave that to me and the ANC.”

READ: Malema: ANC booting magashule out via Zoom was a bad move

Magashule, in what seemed like a jibe at his detractors, said they must realise there was an elected leadership of the party.

This as some of the ANC’s veterans have called for his removal from his powerful role as the engine of the organisation.

Magashule also said he was prepared to meet with former leaders, having already set up some meetings.

"I will start with Matthews Phosa, I’m still checking President [Jacob] Zuma just to fix the times and the dates. I’ve not yet talked to President [Thabo] Mbeki, former President Kgalema [Motlanthe]."

The secretary general and those facing criminal charges have 30 days to vacate their respective offices or face suspension.

TILL DEATH DO US PART

The embattled secretary general said he would remain a member of the party until his death.

He has vowed to not leave the ANC, join any other movement or even start a new political venture.

Magashule said his blood was green, black and gold and that it would never change.

This is despite speculation from some that he plans to pull the party strings from outside Luthuli House.

But Magashule said he was not going anywhere.

“I’m not going to any party; I’m a member of the ANC and I will die in the ANC. I will remain a member of the ANC until I die.”

Magashule has also denied that former President Thabo Mbeki described the secretary general’s office as the weakest it’s ever been.

He claims the former leader gave constructive input.

“President Mbeki was talking about the history of the ANC and how its leadership and entire collective must be behave.”

Magashule when asked if he will turn to the courts, said ANC matters were not resolved in the courts.

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