Magashule goes against ANC suspension rules with address after Zuma trial

Suspended African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Ace Magashule addressed party members outside the Pietermaritzburg High Court who gathered in support of former President Jacob Zuma.

FILE: ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News

PIETERMARITZBURG - Embattled African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Ace Magashule has gone against rules set out by the party for his suspension.

He addressed party members outside the Pietermaritzburg High Court who gathered in support of former President Jacob Zuma.

Zuma was appearing in connection with his corruption trial over the 1999 arms procurement deal.

The matter has since been postponed to 26 May.

Magashule, who spoke briefly, said that more people must come out in support of the former leader.

He said that no one could ban him from speaking: "Nobody under a democracy will ban me. Nobody will remove the ANC from me. I will not form any party, I will die in the ANC."

Meanwhile, ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Sihle Zikalala and secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli were jeered by Zuma’s supporters outside the court.

The two joined Zuma and some of their allies, including suspended secretary-general Magashule, national executive committee (NEC) members, Bongani Bongo and Tony Yengeni.

Zuma’s supporters have insisted that his trial was a political trial.

One of Zuma and Magashule’s staunchest allies, Carl Niehaus, also used the opportunity to rubbish attempts to have the ANC’s embattled secretary-general removed.

"We are also here with our secretary-general, Comrade Ace Magashule. We want to say very clearly today, comrades: no one can ban Comrade Ace from the African National Congress!"

ANC NEC member Tony Yengeni called on the party’s branches to stand up and get involved in internal party battles.

Yengeni claimed that some were plotting to form a splinter party.

He claimed the state machinery was being used against both Zuma and Magashule.

He told party members that they would take on their political opponents from within the party.

"You must be active and you must refuse to be intimidated and bullied by leaders who have no principles," Yengeni said.

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