By Ambassador Carl Niehaus
There are persistent indications that the Secretary General (SG) of the African National Congress (ANC) will be arrested on some trumped up charges. These indications follow persistent rumors over the past months, and an intensified media campaign – especially in recent days – casting increasingly vicious and serious aspersions on the person of comrade Ace Magashule.
There is evidently a well funded, and coordinated national and international campaign, to vilify the Secretary General and to remove him from office. The allegations brought against comrade Ace Magashule are spurious, and without any factual foundation. In fact these allegations are nothing else but deliberately manufactured propaganda, reminiscent of the old Stratcom propaganda and character assassination campaigns of the apartheid era.
That this is happening is sad, but not surprising, because in recent months very disturbing information came to the fore that the old apartheid security apparatuses are being re-activated, and that apartheid intelligence operators and propaganda strategists are being re-employed in the security and intelligence structures/organs of the state. This is being done in order to target those who are associated with Radical Economic Transformation (RET), the formal economic policy program of the ANC.
In that context certain leaders, with specific reference to the Secretary General of the African National Congress, who are seen as standing firm on the economic policy of Radical Economic Transformation (RET), are specifically targeted. This campaign has the Secretary General of the ANC as its most important target, but others within the National Executive Committee (NEC) are also targeted for pushing for the full implementation of the Resolutions of the 54th National Conference of the ANC. Charges are being prepared in closed sessions with outside independent council, and international advisors. Foreign security advisors and inteligence agencies are involved.
This is the context within which the issuing of a warrant of arrest for the Secretary General of the ANC must be understood. Such a warrant is informed by narrow factional, and counter-revolutionary politics, with the ultimate intention to protect White Monopoly Capital (WMC) interests – both nationally and internationally. The reality is that there are no other grounds for it to be issued, certainly not a single shred of tangible information indicating any corrupt act, or for that matter even the slightest criminal intent, exist.
The said warrant is simply a political attack tool, which is intended to remove the Secretary General from office, because he is considered to be an obstacle to those who do not want the implementation of Radical Economic Transformation, and the dismantling of White Monopoly Capital (WMC) that continues to hold our economy in a deadly strangle grip, and prevents the full liberation and economic empowerment of the vast majority of black (especially African) South Africans. The only way to see, and deal, with the warrant, as well as the persistent threats of arrest, is to treat it as a factional political weapon that had been carefully developed, and fine-tuned, by those who are counter-revolutionaries, and the enemies of our people.
What is being executed now with this warrant of arrest is the culmination of an unprecedented political propaganda smear campaign that had been relentless, and constantly intensifying, in its viciousness since the election of comrade Ace Magashule as the Secretary General at the 54th National Conference of the ANC in December 2017. The avalanche of empty, totally unsubstantiated propaganda, which included a specially commissioned book, numerous articles, opinion pieces and commentaries by the most bias of journalists, all have only one ultimate intention and that is to remove the Secretary General from his democratically elected position.
It is no coincidence – neither in timing or content – that after having prepared the ground carefully with this propaganda campaign, now that there is a call for those who are being charged to step aside, that the warrant of arrest was issued. Although it has not yet been executed, it can be executed at any time. It continues to hang like the sword of Damocles over comrade Ace Magashule’s head. The intention remains to try to intimidate him, and eventually to execute an arrest. There are no coincidences in politics, and history has no empty pages. The plan to remove the Secretary General of the ANC was long in the making, and it is now being put into action with meticulous counter-revolutionary precision.
The only way to resist counter-revolutionaries and sell-outs is politically. It serves absolutely no purpose to try to answer to false propaganda allegations and fake news. If one tries to answer to these, one simply gives credence to lies. That is exactly why comrade Ace Magashule has consistently refused to engage with, and respond to, the vicious lies that have been leveled against him. He will continue not to engage such now either, and will treat them with the contempt that these lies, and their originators and disseminators, deserve.
The only legitimate reaction to the serious political crisis that has been so deliberately engineered by the issuing of this warrant of arrest for the Secretary General of the ANC, is to respond with principled revolutionary politics. The Secretary General of the African National Congress was democratically elected at the 54th National Conference of the ANC and as the chief administrator, in fact the Chief Executive Officer, of the African National Congress has the responsibility to oversee – together with the National Executive Committee (NEC) – the implementation of the Resolutions of the 54th National Conference.
It must be emphasized that National Conferences are in terms of the ANC Constitution the highest decision making structures of the ANC. The decisions taken there have been mandated by the branches of the ANC, through their delegates, that are the most important foundational building blocks of the Movement. Every Secretary General in the 108 year long history of the ANC has always seen the implementation of the Resolutions of National Conferences as the most important task, and duty, bestowed on the Office of the Secretary General (SGO). This is the core business of the SGO, and any attempt to undermine the Secretary General in carrying out this critical democratic mandate and/or to subvert, or water down, the Resolutions of the National Conferences of the ANC is seditious and counter-revolutionary. No Secretary General of the ANC worth his or her salt will ever allow for this to happen. The current Secretary General, following in the footsteps of icons of our struggle such as Sol Plaatje, Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu, among other former Secretary Generals of the ANC, will certainly not allow this to happen either.
This is the historical-political context within which it must be understood that the Secretary General will not succumb to a malicious warrant of arrest that is clearly politically motivated with the intention to try and force him to step aside, in order to prevent the full implementation of all the Resolutions of the 54th National Conference of the ANC – including also the official pro-RET economic policy program of the ANC.
The Secretary General, in line with the democratic mandate that he has to execute, will have to rely on the branches and democratic structures of the ANC to resist the vicious vilification attacks that he is being subjected in order to prevent him from carrying out his democratic mandate.
The African National Congress is a mass based revolutionary movement, with every single member of the ANC in their respective branches being the core of its existence and strength. All those members of the ANC in their respective branches have the revolutionary responsibility to defend the Secretary General and enable the SGO to carry out the democratic mandate that they have given the ANC, and to execute and fully implement ANC policy. Since the Secretary General derives his mandate from those members, and all their respective branches, he has a duty to take them into confidence about political developments as they unfold – and especially counter-revolutionary attempts to prevent the Secretary General from carrying out his duties.
It is similarly the revolutionary duty of every single member of the ANC to protect the dignity and revolutionary task of the Secretary General, and the Office of the Secretary General, and to ensure that it is not only allowed, but fully empowered, to execute its critically important democratic mandate.
Comrade Ace Magashule having publically confirmed that he knows about the warrant of arrest for him is part of him carrying out his duties, and informing ANC members, and our South African society in general, about current political developments. Further, and constant engagements, specifically with the members of the ANC, in order to keep them informed about the unfolding political situation will remain crucially important. In doing so the Secretary General really has no option, it is a critical duty of his elected position as the head of administration of the ANC to do so.
In conclusion it needs to be emphasized again that it is by now common knowledge that a warrant of arrest for the Secretary General had been issued. Whether that warrant is eventually executed or not, is neither here nor there. It must be seen for what it is: An instrument of harassment and intimidation in order to prevent the Secretary General of the ANC to carry out his democratically given mandate.
Ultimately this is the critical issue, and this must be stopped from happening in its tracks right now. The mass response of outrage when the existence of the warrant of arrest for, and the actual imminent arrest of the SG became known, is heartwarming and shows that among the members of the ANC the revolutionary heart of the ANC is still pumping vigorously. In the event if the warrant of arrest for the Secretary General is not executed, as is intended, this will register as a major victory for the vigilance and democratic power of the members of the ANC.
The continuing mobilization of our membership to defend our revolution must always be encouraged, because that is the only way that the gains of our revolution can be protected. It is also the only way that we can ultimately ensure the full economic transformation of our country to achieve the objectives of the Freedom Charter, and ensure that the African National Congress fulfills it’s historical revolutionary duty, and remains the leader of society.
*Ambassador Carl Niehaus is a veteran of the ANC, and a former member of the NEC of the ANC. Currently he is a member of the NEC of the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA), and the National Spokesperson of MKMVA.
He wrote this article in his personal capacity as a concerned ANC member.