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Magashule needs advice about joining EFF


Expelled former ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule says he is yet to decide his next political move despite expectations that he will announce the EFF and his new political home.

Former ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule. Picture: Timothy Bernard, African News Agency (ANA)

EXPELLED Ace Magashule has revealed that he can survive and thrive outside the ANC as opposed to the popular view that it is cold outside of the ruling party.

In a short interview with the DFA’s sister publication the Sunday Independent, the former ANC secretary-general said he was yet to take a final decision about his next political move after the ANC national executive committee fired him from the party on June 12 for bringing it into disrepute.

Even before his expulsion from the party he joined at a tender age, Magashule held discussions with the EFF and former Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) spokesperson Carl Niehaus to determine his political future.

While many ANC activists usually tell those who leave the party that “it is cold outside the ANC”, Magashule said: “For me, it is very hot. It is summer, and I am about the harvest (politically).”

He ruled out the possibility of joining the African Radical Economic Transformation Alliance (Areta), the party recently formed by Niehaus, soon after being fired from the ANC.

ANC spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu has meanwhile denied that Magashule’s departure might cost the ANC in next year’s elections as he was just a member and not above the party.

“We are busy re-stabilising our structures in the Free State Province, and we are confident of the work that has been done under the current leadership led by comrade Mxolisi Dukwana (provincial chairperson).

“We really don’t have a reason to think that we are going to be bleeding in any way as a result of the NDC finding Ace Magashule guilty, and they gave him an opportunity to make representations as to why he should not be expelled, the opportunity he did not take advantage of,” said Bhengu.

When asked why he did not make representations, Magashule said he had no intention of defending his party membership because “there is no ANC”.

While many were anxiously waiting for him to announce his next move, when approached, Magashule asked for “proper” advice on whether or not he should join the EFF.

“What do you think I should do? “I want you to advise me. What should I do?” he said.

The former Free State premier said he has a common Struggle history with EFF leader Julius Malema, the former ANC Youth League president, who was also fired from the ANC.

“There are lots of common things we shared, dating back from the times of the Struggle. We also want radical economic transformation (RET). We want the economy in the hands of black people. We want to nationalise the Reserve Bank. We share the same constituency,” he said.

Malema told the TimesLIVE recently that the EFF held discussions with Magashule as the red berets needed everyone to add numbers for its campaign to unseat President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Magashule distanced himself from scores of people who were seen burning loads of ANC regalia in his hometown of Tumahole in Parys on June 16 in reaction to his expulsion.

“I don’t know whether they are fighting for me being fired or for other things. I really don’t know because I was not there,” he said.

ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula said the party was not concerned about the burning of its regalia as people who did it were mobilised “in the name of an individual (Magashule)”.

“That individual has a right. If he loves this organisation, to stand up for his own membership and defend it, he has not done that.

“Instead, he is going around mobilising, forming political formations, and talking to leaders.

“How can a leader (who is) tried and tested be confused about his standing in the party,” Mbalula told the media in Durban.

Fistos Mafela, an ANC branch chairperson in Limpopo, condemned the ANC for firing Magashule ahead of the next year’s general elections.

“Right now, we are busy campaigning for the elections, so that’s why I don’t understand why they take such a decision,” said Mafela.

ANC member in Mangaung, Mduduzi Nkambule, fears that the party might lose support in the Free State should Magashule join the EFF.

“They will make him a premier in the Free State, and that will kill the ANC, and it will never come back in this province,” said Nkambule.

Political analyst Kim Heller said if Magashule does join the EFF, he is likely to be followed by disgruntled ANC members, especially the RET faction.

“With voters increasingly unhappy with the lack of performance and false promises of the ruling party, they are looking for alternatives. If Ace does join EFF, it would provide a booster to EFF’s support in the province,” she said.

Professor Sipho Seepe said some members might refrain from campaigning for the party.

“The decision is a vengeful act aimed at purging dissenting voices within the party,” said Seepe.”

Meanwhile, an EFF MP said there was an expectation that Magashule would call a press conference this week to announce his decision.

“For the fact that he was a secretary-general, he would boost support for any party he decides to join,” said the MP.

Another EFF leader said if Magashule decides to join, he would have to go through a process of transforming his mindset from the one he had while he was with the ANC.

“ANC and EFF are two different organisations. Therefore, anyone who joins us from the ANC would have to be work-shopped about what the EFF is all about,” said the leader.

When approached for comment, EFF spokesperson Sinawo Tambo said the party was “not on a journey to hunt African leaders to their graves”.

But Tambo promised to update the public on future developments.

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