Former African National Congress (ANC) spokesperson Carl Niehaus has lashed out at journalist Max du Preez by way of a lengthy opinion piece, first published in Afrikaans on pro-Zuma website Africa News 24/7.
Niehaus, who is currently spokesperson for the uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) but says he wrote this piece in his personal capacity, defends his close ally Magashule in his trademark hyperbolic style.
In his opinion piece, he accuses Du Preez of wanting Magashule charged “with all kinds of conjured up ‘crimes’, and lock him up in the slammer, so that the president of the ANC, comrade Cyril Ramaphosa, can have a free hand to ‘save’ our country”.
He accuses Du Preez of arrogance and insultingly refers to him as a “boer-seun” [farm boy], saying “subtlety and nuance is really not part of the character make-up of you guys”.
Niehaus believes Du Preez supports President Cyril Ramaphosa because he has “convinced himself the president is a “tame black ‘voorman'” or “Uncle Tom” who “can be used to rein in the black troublemakers and instigators”.
He then compares Du Preez to Investec co-founder Stephen Koseff, alleging the pair are “two peas in a pod” after Koseff said in an interview that Ramaphosa must make tough decisions which may put him at odds with the ANC’s “left”.
“I don’t care whether you call it privatisation, or anything else. Just do it!” he said.
Niehaus is reacting to a column in the recently re-launched online version of Du Preez’ progressive Afrikaans publication Vrye Weekblad, in which he called for Magashule to face trial for alleged corruption, theft, and money laundering.
He argued that Ramaphosa and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni are not able to take the necessary steps to save South Africa due to opposition from the “radical economic transformation” wing of the ANC, which according to him is led by Magashule.
Magashule has regularly been linked to allegations of corruption, with links to the Gupta family and others, along with allegations of abuse of power, especially during his years as the Free State premier. This was examined in great detail in a bestselling book, Gangster State, which Magashule undertook to sue the author for, but appears to have not yet done.
Niehaus called the book “a load of hogwash” on Twitter after a user said: “It exposes Ace Magashule’s criminal deeds in details.”
Vrye Weekblad was groundbreaking in its first incarnation due to its opposition to apartheid, to the point that its offices were bombed by an operative of apartheid-era death-squad the Civil Cooperation Bureau (CCB)
The publication was driven to bankruptcy by legal costs, particularly for a story accusing apartheid police general Lothar Neethling of supplying poison to security police to kill activists.
— Carl Niehaus (@niehaus_carl) November 16, 2019
(Additional reporting, Charles Cilliers)