The DA is demanding answers over allegations that former Free State Premier Ace Magashule facilitated payment to the African Transformation Movement (ATM).
DA MPL in the Free State Dr Roy Jankielsohn says the party will submit questions to Premier Sisi Ntombela regarding allegations made by the former General Secretary of the messianic churches Buyisile Ngqulwana.
Ngqulwana claims that Magashule instructed the Director General of the Province, Kopung Ralikotsane, to pay R141,000 to the African Transformation Foundation.
It is alleged that this money was used to fund the formation and registration of the African Transformation Congress that later became the political party ATM.
Magashule is taking Ngqulwana to court over his claims that Magashule had a hand in the establishment of the ATM, a small party that emerged in the run-up to the 2019 general elections, and News24 previously reported that Magashule is pursuing a defamation suit seeking up to R500,000 in damages.
Magashule, at the time, said: “The purpose I am bringing this application is to vindicate my reputation. To this end, I seek various orders aimed at vindicating my character and putting an end to the ongoing and unlawful of the allegations in the statement and compensating me for the harm I have suffered.”
Ngqulwana is also facing a R22m defamation lawsuit from ATM, saying the statements he has made about the formation of the party are “blatant lies”, according to News24.
However, Ngqulwana, the former GS of the South African Council of Messianic Churches in Christ (SACMCC), said in an affidavit, which News24 has seen, that he denies his statements about Magashule are defamatory.
Jankielsohn says: “If the allegations made in an affidavit are true, then it amounts to a serious malfeasance by former Premier Magashule. It would also imply serious misconduct by the Director General of the Free State in terms of the public service and disciplinary codes regarding the misuse of his position in the public service to promote or prejudice a political party.”
A policy on the separation of party and state was drafted and implemented in the province after the Public Protector found that the Free State government under Magashule had prejudiced opposition parties by blurring the lines between party and state in the 2011 elections.
The 2016 Public Protector report was based on complaints by the DA regarding the misuse of the Free State Provincial Government’s Operation Hlasela initiative for the ANC’s election campaign, Jankielsohn said.
“The accusations by Mr Ngqulwana indicate that Magashule’s actions were a direct result of Cyril Ramaphosa’s winning the ANC’s presidency. This would imply provincial government funds were used to divide the opposition and fight internal ANC battles,” he added.