Ace Magashule brazenly ordered the slaughter of 32 cattle that belonged to the Free State provincial government's Glen Agricultural College in order to influence delegates to support him at a regional ANC conference in 2005.
This is according to former Free State premier Beatrice Marshoff who says this was the reason she sought and received permission from then president Thabo Mbeki's ANC to dismiss Magashule from the provincial executive.
Marshoff told journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh the incident convinced her to fire him less than a year after he was appointed MEC of agriculture. According to Myburgh's book Gangster State: Unraveling Ace Magashule's Web of Capture she regretted appointing him in the first place.
Marshoff said she was notified one Friday afternoon after work that the large-scale slaughter was taking place at Glen, an institution that fell under Magashule's control. A government official told her Magashule instructed that the cattle be slaughtered and that meat parcels be loaded onto bakkies and transported to a regional ANC conference to be distributed among delegates.
She asked the police to intervene and a number of bakkies heading north to Sasolburg, where the conference was to be held, were stopped. "The meat parcels were meant to be distributed among ANC members who were going to attend the conference so that they would vote for Magashule's slate," Marshoff told Myburgh.
This practice however resumed once he became premier, Gangster State alleges, and it became "normal" and a "habit" for cattle to slaughtered for political events or political funerals under Magashule.
One source said: "It's a scandal because it is the state's property, not theirs to just take. It's since become less common (after Magashule's departure from the province). They have only come to fetch two (cattle) so far this year (in 2018)."
Magashule declined to comment when asked a set of more than 60 questions for the book. Gangster State is the first comprehensive audit of Magashule's activities as one of the ANC's most powerful figures. The controversial former Free State premier has been accused of various illegal dealings over the years but has never been charged or convicted of any crime.