Cyril Ramaphosa and Ace Magashule. Picture: SIMPHIWE NKWALI
Cyril Ramaphosa and Ace Magashule. Picture: SIMPHIWE NKWALI

A few days after scoffing at claims that Cyril Ramaphosa had saved the ANC at the polls last week, secretary-general Ace Magashule on Monday said there was no animosity between him and the president.

“There is no fallout between me and the president, we work as the leadership of the ANC, we work as the collective,” he said on the sidelines of a special national executive committee (NEC) meeting in Irene, near Pretoria.

“We are working very well with the president of the ANC.”

The ANC came out of the 2019 elections with reduced majority of 57%. This was an improvement on the 53% the party achieved in local government elections in 2016 — but down from the 62% it received in the 2014 national elections.

The ANC’s support declined significantly in the two terms under of former president Jacob Zuma’s leadership. Magashule is a key ally of the former president.

The ANC lost a lot of support during Zuma’s term in office, which was marred by allegations of state capture and corruption, the weakening of state institutions and a decline in the economy. 

He was forced to resign from government after the governing party’s elective conference elected Ramaphosa as its leader in Johannesburg in 2017. Ramaphosa immediately sought to clean up the image of the party and government and stem the slide. He got rid of some implicated heads of key government entities and established a number of commissions in a bid to stop the rot.

ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula last week said the governing party may have sunk to 40% and lost the general elections if Ramaphosa had not won the party’s presidential race at Nasrec in Johannesburg in 2017.

But Magashule scoffed at Mbalula’s comment accusing him of talking “nonsense”. He asserted that the voters were electing the ANC and not an individual.

The ANC special NEC has been convened to choose the premier candidates for the eight provinces the party retained in the elections.

Magashule said the provincial executive committees had submitted three names each, from which the NEC will make a final decision.

Magashule said the meeting would not be discussing the national candidate list and a report by the ANC’s integrity commission. 

The party’s list was sent to the commission for review after it came under heavy criticism because it included those candidates who had been implicated in state capture, corruption and one for lying under oath.

The integrity commission could recommended that those on the list implicated in wrongdoing should step down.

“We have registered the list [with the IEC]. To take out a person from parliament that person must agree to resign,” Magashule said.

New MPs will be sworn in at parliament next week.

quintalg@businesslive.co.za