Response to PPE corruption: 'It's as though the ANC is speaking from two mouths'
Ace Magashule's sons and friends have been linked to lucrative deals but the ANC secretary-general remains defiant at a time when the ANC-led government is drowning in allegations of Covid-19 contract corruption.
Investigative reporter and writer Pieter-Louis Myburgh's book Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule's Web of Capture is a chilling account of Ace Magashule's rise to power as premier of the Free State and his impact on both the ANC and government.
Refilwe Moloto speaks to Myburgh about the current situation regarding PPE contracts and more.
Statements by members of the ANC recently stating that no one who is connected to politically exposed persons (PEPs) in government either through family or friendship is contradicted by a comment last week by ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule who said he saw no problem with such contracts.
In fact, Magasule's defence was to say 'show me one ANC member who has not been involved in these dealing.'
The discussion and debate around that issue really point to what is at the heart of the fractured ANC at the moment.Pieter-Louis Myburgh, Investigative journalist and author
Myburgh says there has not been a unified voice when it comes to what the party's position should be in terms of senior party members and government officials doing business with the State.
In fact, the ANC nationally was not that quick to respond to the Diko issue, where then-presidential Spokesperson Khuselo Diko's husband had been involved in a PPE tender.
ANC Gauteng did pounce on the issue and put people on voluntary leave quite quickly.Pieter-Louis Myburgh, Investigative journalist and author
But following this incident, it became clear that more and more ANC-connected families were involved in Covid-19 contracts and it was an issue the party could not ignore, he says.
But the response has not been clear.
Essentially it is as though the party is speaking from two mouths on the issue.Pieter-Louis Myburgh, Investigative journalist and author
He says there are reports of heated arguments at ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) meetings about what the party's official position would be.
It has not been resolved yet. There is no unified voice.Pieter-Louis Myburgh, Investigative journalist and author
He describes the two factions within the ANC.
One faction is centred broadly around President Cyril Ramaphosa who opposes ANC members or their families doing business with the State.
The second faction, broadly aligned to ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, contends that there is nothing wrong with such contracts as long as there is no undue influence, by the party members themselves, explains Myburgh.
But the devil always lies in the details and it is very easy... given all that we know about the Gupta leaks and so on...that the influence is only a phone call away...So we know the influence is there.Pieter-Louis Myburgh, Investigative journalist and author
It becomes very difficult to separate the party official from the contract, he adds.
He outlines Magashule's history of connections to many government contracts and deals starting back when he was Free State premier.
It paints a picture of a party that has always been associated with patronage networks.Pieter-Louis Myburgh, Investigative journalist and author
Listen to the interview below:
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