ANC NEC member Dakota Legoete says failure to uphold the constitution could spark military intervention in South Africa.
Legoete, a strong ally of ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule, made the remarks during an interview with Newzroom Afrika on Tuesday.
He was explaining an article he wrote on News24 in which he said the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) charge sheet against Magashule is “malicious and facetious.”
“More worrying is whether or not the NPA is once again on a slippery slope of being used as a tool for political warfare as was the case [with] both the Scorpions and the Hawks in the recent past,” he wrote.
Speaking during the interview, Legoete said he wrote the article with the aim of defending the constitution and democracy as well as upholding South Africa’s stability.
He added, “Some of these situations – politically, legally and otherwise – if they are left unattended, have the potential of bringing an unpalatable situation to our country.
“In any democracy, if the three arms of the state fail to uphold and respect the constitution, then what you are left with is the military, and we would not want a situation in this country where there is a need for military intervention.”
Legoete said he did not write the article to defend Magashule, but to defend constitutional principles such as presumption of innocence until proven guilty and the integrity of judicial processes.
“If you charge somebody of the profile of the Secretary-General of the governing party, you need to be sure with your facts, procedure of the law and your case because such a high profile person has the potential to divide both the governing party and country – and that’s what nobody would want,” he explained.
He cautioned law enforcement agencies against being used to fight political battles. Asked who in the ANC is using such agencies, Legoete said the matter is sub judice.
He added, “In my article, I’m trying to advise those who are administering justice in our country to be beyond reproach and not find themselves in clumsy political battles.
“The constitution in our country is the supreme law and must be upheld and respected by all. If we fail to do that, then we are inviting the army, which is allowed to defend the constitution, territorial integrity and sovereignty of our country.”
Magashule faces 21 corruption charges related to a R255 million asbestos audit contract awarded during his term as Free State Premier. He has maintained his innocence and is out on R200,000 bail.
This isn’t the first time an ANC leader has raised the prospect of military involvement in politics. In November last year, MKMVA leader Kebby Maphatsoe warned that arresting former President Jacob Zuma could precipitate a coup in South Africa.
The ANC NEC condemned such statements after its meeting in December. “The NEC called on leaders and members to exercise maximum discipline and to refrain from actions and utterances that detract from the spirit of renewal and unity,” it said.