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Ace on CR17 funds: There is no free lunch

Mortgage... ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule criticises President Cyril Ramaphosa's alled fundraising drive for his CR17 campaign, saying it is tantamount to mortgaging the party to a highest bidder. /Gallo Images

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule has slammed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s presidential campaign, saying the use of money to win positions will hand over control of the party to funders of candidates.

In an interview with Sunday World this week, Magashule said the party’s past leaders and conferences warned against the use of money in leadership contestations, adding that the organisation has not adopted fundraising as part of lobbying for positions.

Magashule was speaking in the wake of revelations that hundreds of millions of rand were pumped into the president’s campaign to lead
the party.

Ramaphosa has been under fire since revelations that his ANC campaignwas funded by powerful individuals such as mining magnate Nicky Oppenheimer, Pick n Pay boss Raymond Ackerman, former Absa CEO Maria Ramos and owner of the news network eNCA, Johnny Copelyn.

Magashule questioned why a presidential candidate would need funding.

“Why should you do that [raise funds]? I even heard judge [chief justice Mogoeng) Mogoeng saying there is no free lunch. You want to be mortgaged, as comrade Kgalema [Motlanthe] used to say?

“Business people don’t have the principles that the ANC has,”he said. Magashule did not want to speak specifically about Ramaphosa, and also denied that his rise to the organisation’s second most powerful position could have been funded by those who supported another candidate at the party’s Nasrec conference in 2017, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

“I don’t know whether people used money to campaign for me. I have never campaigned for me to be the secretary-general. I thought through the eye of the needle we said branches must nominate.

“I don’t have people with bags and bags of money campaigning, because there is no free lunch.”

Magashule – whose relationship with Ramaphosa is said to be fraught – also denied that he had been involved in corruption
and money-laundering when he was premier in the Free State.

He said he expected the Free State government to apply to cross-examine former Free State economic development MEC Mxolisi Dukwana, who made the allegations at the Zondo Commission, that Magashule was a “blesser” who even had judges in his pockets.

“I have not done anything wrong. The truth will prevail. I am expecting the government of the Free State to cross-examine Dukwana. I have never been involved in one single tender in the Free State.”

By George Matlala