Gangster state, fake news and denials: The one Ace Magashule story you need to read

02 April 2019 - 06:37 By Cebelihle Bhengu
Ace Magashule
Ace Magashule
Image: Masi Losi

Intricate webs of state capture, the Gupta family (again), political spin and hidden vendettas - these are the main themes that have dominated mention of Ace Magashule's name over the past 48 hours after the release of Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule's Web of Capture.

Extracts from the book have resulted in political fallouts, shock from South Africans and claims of "fake news" and dubious stories.

Here's everything you need to know about the book and what has happened since its release:

Allegations

Former Mangaung mayor Thabo Manyoni alleged that Magashule introduced him to Atul Gupta, one of the three Gupta brothers who have been heavily implicated in state capture. He claimed that he was taken to the infamous Gupta compound in Saxonwold, where he was offered a stack of cash in a brown envelope, which he claimed he refused, when Gupta asked him to "work with them". 

Magashule has also been linked to the late businessman Ignatius Mpambani, who was assassinated in Sandton in 2017 with cash amounting to R1m in his car. Both are suspected to have been involved in the diversion of millions in government funds which were meant for low-cost housing in Free State.

The struggle credentials of the ANC's SG have also been put under scrutiny, as revelations by a former Umkhonto weSizwe operative from the Free State refuted claims previously made by Magashule that he trained a group of youths on how to use AK47s. Other sources also denied that he ever underwent military training.

PODCAST: Listen to commentary on the issue.

His response

Magashule refuted the claims made in the book and the report by Sunday Times. Taking to Twitter amid the release of the report, he said he and the party were "unshaken" by the "fake news" and "gutter journalism". Instead, they were working hard to ensure a "landslide victory" for the ANC. 

On Monday afternoon Magashule said that he could not comment on the book as he was exploring his legal options.

He was briefing journalists about a special ANC national executive committee meeting.

ANC response

The party's spokesperson Dakota Legoete dismissed the reports and said Magashule was a credible leader. He said the claims and allegations in the book were perpetrated by those who want to "tarnish" his image.

The party also released a statement on Sunday, in which it fiercely defended Magashule. The party said they it was dealing with it's renewal and referred to the reports as a "media attack" on its leadership, the goal of which was to cloud South Africans with doubt on the party's leadership. It referred to Sunday Times and the book's author, Pieter-Louis Myburgh,  as "peddlers of fake news".

DA reacts

The Democratic Alliance said it was neither shocked nor surprised by the claims. It dismissed the promises of the ANC about "renewal" and a "new dawn",  saying the party would continue to practice its old tricks. 

On social media, many were divided about the timing of the book, with some calling it genius timing and others calling it an "electioneering campaign".


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