Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola has urged African National Congress (ANC) Secretary-General Ace Magashule to produce evidence to back his claim that state organs are being used for political reasons.
Magashule made the claim during an interview with eNCA‘s Vuyo Mvoko earlier this week. He was responding to perceptions that law enforcement agencies have been slow to act on corruption allegations.
‘Please act, but don’t be pushed’
He said, “We are saying [to law enforcement agencies], please act, but don’t be pushed. Don’t be influenced. Don’t use state organs for political reasons as it has happened in the past and we still see it happening.”
When pushed by Mvoko to explain his claim, Magashule added, “We still see state organs being used. We still see people being approached to fabricate stories about many of us.”
However, Lamola, who is also an ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) member told eNCA on Thursday that South Africa is “tired of conspiracies.”
He added, “We have moved beyond conspiracies. We need facts; we need evidence on the table, so if the Secretary-General has indeed said that, he must provide evidence and that evidence must be scrutinised, and whoever is interfering with law enforcement agencies must be arrested.
“To interfere with the independence of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is a serious crime and it must be dealt with. We cannot continue [with] people raising issues and not bringing the evidence. So, the SG must bring the evidence. We can’t continue to throw mud and conspiracies. I think we need facts and we must deal with real facts.”
Not the first time
This is not the first time Magashule has made the claim. Speaking to IOL in November last year, he claimed that “some individuals who are using state resources” are working with elements in the media to target him.
He added, “I am also aware that there are rogue elements within the South African Police Service who are used not only to tarnish the entire police force, but also to sow divisions within the ANC.”
In April last year, Magashule also alleged that his cellphone and that of Deputy Secretary-General Jessie Duarte had been bugged. “I don’t know who is using this, [but] we are just warning people – don’t use state organs to fight political battles,” he said.
The ANC is struggling to overcome a factional deadlock that has hampered its renewal agenda and anti-corruption decision making.
Some ANC NEC members aligned to Magashule, including MP Bongani Bongo who faces alleged bribery charges, have claimed that they feel “targeted” because they did not support President Cyril Ramaphosa during the party’s 54th national conference in 2017.