South Africa: Magashule On Dairy Farm Case - 'They Mustn't Scare Us Because They Want Us to Leave This Position'

While ANC secretary general Ace Magashule has accepted that "the law must take its course" in relation to the controversial dairy farm project in the Free State, he believes that people must not use it to scare him out of his new position in the party.

Magashule's role as Free State premier has been questioned after the Hawks raided his office, as well as the provincial office of the department of agriculture on Friday.

Last week, News24 revealed that the Krynaauws Lust farm, near Vrede, was placed under the curatorship of NPA's Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU).

The Free State agricultural department - under then MEC Mosebenzi Zwane - allegedly paid R220m to the Guptas in what the AFU calls a "scheme designed to defraud and steal monies from the department".

The #GuptaLeaks revealed last year, how at least R30m, allegedly paid to the Guptas via the farm ended up funding the family's lavish Sun City wedding in 2013.

'They are trying to intimidate us'

Speaking at an ANCYL rally in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday afternoon, Magashule said one of the resolutions the newly elected ANC national executive committee (NEC) took was to fight corruption.

"I see they are trying to intimidate us: 'implicated [in] Vrede Dairy [they say]'... We accept the law must take its course. They mustn't write about us - they must investigate and decide, and if any wrongdoing was done, they must act without fear," he said.

"They mustn't scare us because they want us to leave this position. The enemy is not going to sleep until the ANC is weakened. They must not intimidate you."

The failed project was supposed to empower small black farmers.

One hundred emerging black farmers were promised five cows each as part of the empowerment scheme, but they never received them.

During his address on Sunday, Magashule also rubbished claims that the NEC had taken a decision to remove former ANC president Jacob Zuma as the president of the country.

"We have not taken such a decision. It's only factional leaders who want to be populist - those who are loved by the media, who claim to know the ANC - who are making noise outside. We, as disciplined ANC members, engage our issues inside the ANC, not in the (news)papers," he said.

Standing invitation

He said Zuma never elected himself as the country's president but was elected by the ANC.

Magashule said Zuma has a standing invitation to NEC meetings as former president of the ANC.

"We had taken a decision when Nelson Mandela was still alive, when he was no longer a president, that once you have been the president of the ANC and you [are] no longer a president, you must become an ex-officio member of the NEC.

"So president Zuma and Thabo Mbeki - because he was once a president - have a standing invitation to attend the national executive committee whenever they have time," he said.

He also said the party will respect Ramaphosa as an elected leader of the ANC.

"We will respect him as the ANC president. We will respect the leaders who want unity because this is the year of unity. We must deal with those leaders - don't respect them - those who talk unity and don't practice it," he said.

KZN PEC

Magashule said it was not his decision alone to select those who are in the ANC KwaZulu-Natal's interim structure, after the recent suspension of the province's provincial executive committee.

This follows a court battle over the legitimacy of the outcomes of the 2015 provincial elective conference.

"It is not mine, but the ANC's [decision]. It's not a faction, we chose ordinary members of the ANC."

He urged party members to ignore those leaders "who are complaining on Twitter and Facebook" about the inclusion of former PEC chairperson Sihle Zikalala in the structure that will oversee the planning of the provincial conference in April.

Zikalala is the co-ordinator of the structure.

"Ignore those on Facebook and Twitter and focus on rebuilding the ANC in the province, because it is an important province in the history of the ANC," he said.

Source: News24

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