President Cyril Ramaphosa has come out to set the record straight on the rumours that he has been working on a plan to oust ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule. The president said that the ANC needed to be united and strengthened to execute its tasks diligently and win elections.
Asked if unity would be restored in the party if Magashule stepped aside, he was diplomatic in his response, stating they were all committed to focusing on the ANC.
“The ANC is much bigger than all of us, it’s bigger than me and anyone else. The ANC has been in existence much longer than all of us and it’s a precious vehicle and we need to ensure that it’s strengthened,” he said.
Ramaphosa said they had to face up to the challenge of keeping the party united, renewed and strong. However, he confirmed there was factionalism and divisions within the party, and said they have always been upfront about the challenges they faced.
“We were given a clear mandate to unite the ANC and get rid of factions and to make sure that we bring the ANC groupings together. We imposed unity on a number of structures within the organisation and I have been very consistent on the unity process,” said Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa also laughed off allegations that he plotted the ousting of former president Jacob Zuma and was now behind the moves to remove Magashule from the party.
“That’s never been my wish, you never heard it from my mouth. I reject that notion, that’s not how I deal with comrades, that’s not how I do business. That is not the way I behave, not at all. I know that some people believe that, but it’s never been part of my make up,” he said.
With Covid-19 in full tilt, Ramaphosa has his plate full in trying to strike a balance as the president of the nation and leader of the embattled ANC. He has himself been at the centre of controversy on a number of occasions, with questions raised over the unsealing of the CR17 campaign documents, which will reveal the financial records of donations received by his campaign.
Ramaphosa said that the process of unsealing the documents was in court. “In the end, those will be either unsealed or another decision will be taken and I’m not a judge of that.”
Also hanging over his head are the latest developments at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture. Former Eskom chief executive Brian Molefe accused the president of being conflicted when he was appointed to head up the Eskom war-room strategy, which was supposed to turn around the struggling state-owned entity.
Ramaphosa said some of Molefe’s testimony was “fantastical” and his time would come at the Zondo Commission.
“I will also have an opportunity to respond. It’s very easy to sit on a chair and write allegations. There are a number of people who have also been accused of a whole number of things. This is not the only issue prompting me to go. I had already committed that I will be going,” said the president.
However, he remained mum on the ongoing arms deal corruption case implicating Zuma.
“I don’t know what one would say. There are processes that must ensue in terms of our various other processes. I’ve done nothing to instigate that as much other people believe that I did, nothing might be (further) from the truth. Some might want to say I’m the one stoking the fire, but there is no truth in that,” he said.