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By Eric Naki

Political Editor

Ace is sweet-talking Cyril ‘because he knows he’s being watched’

'I don’t think someone like Ace would be converted on the spot,' a political analyst says, 'I think he will be much more careful in future.'

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule is under extreme pressure within the ANC, which forced him to suddenly tone down his vitriolic attacks on President Cyril Ramaphosa, a political analyst said yesterday.

Susan Booysen, who attended a media briefing addressed by Magashule at Luthuli House ANC headquarters in Johannesburg yesterday, said Magashule is aware that he was being watched by ANC top guns and that is why he chose his words very carefully during the briefing in which he insisted that he and Ramaphosa are working together to unite and renew the ANC.

“Between myself and President Ramaphosa, we are united. We are preoccupied with uniting our movement. Me and President Ramaphosa won’t allow any wedge to come between us,” said Magashule.

Although Magashule still vehemently denied that there was a plot to oust Ramaphosa, he said the issue had been referred to the party’s top six officials.

Recently, ex-president Jacob Zuma, Magashule, former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo and others were seen attending a meeting in a Durban hotel.

“He is under a lot of pressure, but I don’t think someone like Ace would be converted on the spot,” said Booysen. “I think he will be much more careful in future because he knows he is being watched.”

In the past, Magashule has never attacked Ramaphosa in a media conference but would choose a particular gathering he knew was dominated by Zuma supporters, mainly in Free State and KwaZulu-Natal, as he did early this year in Pietermaritzburg and last week in the Free State.

It was in his home town, Parys, in the northern Free State that he launched a stinging tongue-lashing on Ramaphosa for the president’s recent criticism against the alleged plotters during the Cosatu national congress in Midrand.

In January, Magashule angered Ramaphosa followers in KZN when he told an ANC Youth League gathering in Pietermaritzburg that the “ANC that we know must return”.

“Stay focused, it is just a matter of five years. Conference happens after five years. Mayibuya i-ANC esiyaziyo (when the ANC that we know returns). So let’s work hard,” he said.

Ramaphosa followers protested outside the venue, saying that Magashule insinuated that he did not recognise the Ramaphosa leadership and his statement was divisive to the party.

Magashule said he was prepared to go to the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture if he was invited.

“There is nothing wrong in going to the [state capture] commission if I am required to go there. It is important that we deal with the allegations and rumours,” he said.

Numerous allegations of corruption had been levelled against Magashule’s government, as then premier of the Free State province, including the Estina dairy farm in Vrede and alleged channelling of state funds to support now-defunct The New Age newspaper that was owned by the Gupta family.


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