Former president Jacob Zuma received a warm birthday embrace
from African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General, Ace Magashule.
Zuma, who celebrated his 77th birthday on 12
April, has received a standing ovation from some close political colleagues and
public supporters alike. This, despite the fact that his tenure as president is
generally regarded as destructive and regressive, costing the country an estimated
Another headache for Ramaphosa
Still, if there’s one day that allows Zuma to have his cake and eat it too, without fear of reprisal or scathing investigate attacks, it’s his birthday. By Zuma’s own recent admission to President Cyril Ramaphosa, he’s been enjoying the icing on top a bit too much.
Despite the former president’s laidback and aloof public
persona, retirement has only been marginally kinder to Zuma. Many of the
country’s failures are still put on his shoulders, along with the scourge of
factional infighting which threatens to tear the ruling party asunder. For
these reasons, a glowing target still rests on Zuma’s back, one illuminated even
brighter due to his dubious political stratagem behind the scenes.
ANC Secretary General, Ace Magashule, isn’t much better off
and is, in theory, still held to accountability as a consequence of his
powerful position within the ruling party.
It’s no secret that Magashule and Zuma are, and always have been, close allies; friends who traversed the daunting political precipice together, encouraging one another to achieve greater goals. It has all the hallmarks of a modern-day masterpiece – brothers in arms on the political battlefield – except for the fact that both men have been accused of defrauding and undermining the sovereignty of South Africa.
Magashule and Zuma, a match made in Saxonwold
But like all battle-hardened veterans who have dodged bullets together, Magashule and Zuma hold some secrets; secrets which have, on more than one occasion, thrown the ruling ANC into a tailspin. Back in September, fears of a presidential overthrow plot whipped the party into a frenzy. It was alleged that Magashule had met with Zuma in a Durban hotel to plan the ousting of President Ramaphosa. Magashule was joined by a few other political allies, but his involvement – which at first he denied – was the most worrisome.
Magashule later recanted and said that although he had met
with Zuma, he was not duty-bound to announce his appointments to the ANC, nor
was he at liberty to divulge information relating to the meeting.
The meeting, and Magashule’s subsequent defiance, undoubtedly
gave Ramaphosa sleepless nights. Still, the entire saga eventually simmered
down and, following a few idle threats made by Ramaphosa, the president
returned to preaching unity.
It wasn’t to be the final headache caused by Magashule, though. One month before the 2019 general election, investigate journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh, released a scathing account of the SG’s term as Premier of the Free State: Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule’s Web of Capture.
In his book, Myburgh alleges that Magashule ran the Free
State as his own personal mafia enterprise, taxing businesses for government
contracts, stealing cattle and connecting local ministers to the infamous Gupta
Magashule has denied all the allegations and is intending on suing Myburgh. Still, the latest string of bad press stings, especially with the elections just a few weeks away.
Happy Birthday Msholozi
— Ace Magashule (OFFICIAL) (@Magashule_Ace) April 12, 2019
This brings us back to Msholozi – a man who the ANC has
tried desperately to keep out of the limelight during its fierce election
campaign. But you can’t keep a Gupta man down.
On Friday afternoon, Magashule took to Twitter to wish “president”
Zuma well, saying:
“I’d like to wish President Zuma a happy birthday.Ukhule Nxamalala #ZumaDay”
To which Zuma replied:
“Thank you my SG and stay resolute during these times.”
Social media users asked Magashule why, when Ramaphosa was
the president of the country and the ANC, would he still refer to Zuma as “President”
– to which he replied:
“In the ANC we don’t have “ex”, liberals use such.”