‘I have no such power’: Ace Magashule on Oscar Mabuyane assertion

14 October 2021 - 13:21
Ace Magashule attended former president Jacob Zuma's homecoming prayer event in Durban on Thursday.
Ace Magashule attended former president Jacob Zuma's homecoming prayer event in Durban on Thursday.
Image: SANDILE NDLOVU/Sunday Times

Suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule has dismissed allegations that he was behind a “fishing expedition” by the Hawks against Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane.

Arriving at former president Jacob Zuma’s homecoming prayer event in Durban on Thursday, Magashule fielded questions from journalists.

According to Mabuyane, he was subjected to questioning by a Hawks official from the Free State in August which suggested to him that there may have been a political vendetta driven by Magashule, whom he was vocal about being suspended after he was criminally charged.

Asked about allegations made by Mabuyane, Magashule simply said: “I have no such power.”

The allegations relate to an affidavit by businessman Lonwabo Bam in 2019 in which he alleged Mabuyane had personally and unduly benefited from public money from the Winnie Madikizela-Mandela memorial.

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane released a report last week agreeing with Bam, and quantified Mabuyane’s undue benefit to have amounted to R450,000. Mkhwebane  instructed law enforcement to move on Mabuyane.

A criminal case has since been opened for investigation against Mabuyane.

Magashule, who was asked by the party to step aside due to a criminal charge against him, did not want to comment about what the ANC should do with regards to Mabuyane.

“Let me not enter that space, that’s not for me to decide,” he said.

Mabuyane in court papers said he felt like he was an accused — even though there were no specific allegations against him and, thus, he has no case to answer to.

But what stood out for him, he said, was the fact that the investigation was conducted from the Free State, Magashule’s home province, despite the alleged crimes having taken place in the Eastern Cape.