The dream of a united ANC seems to be slipping further away after the party’s secretary general, Ace Magashule, released a statement late on Wednesday, calling national executive committee (NEC) member Derek Hanekom an “EFF sleeper”.
This comes after EFF leader Julius Malema alleged that Hanekom conspired with the party to oust former president Jacob Zuma via a motion of no confidence in the National Assembly.
Malema claimed Hanekom handed over a list of ANC MPs who would vote against Zuma. He also told his supporters that Hanekom was prepared to form a splinter party if President Cyril Ramaphosa did not defeat Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma at the party’s 2017 national elective conference.
On Wednesday, Hanekom admitted meeting EFF secretary general Gordrich Gardee. However, when he responded to a query from News24, he initially denied that there was anything sinister about it.
In an SMS, Hanekom seemed to suggest to News24 that Gardee requested the meeting, calling it his “initiative”.
“I have said – not admitted – that at the time I met Gardee. His initiative, not mine. There is nothing with meeting a fellow MP, which is what we were at the time.”
Later, after a Kader Asmal lecture in Sandton, Johannesburg, on the same night, Hanekom said his meeting with the EFF was of a common interest as it was during a “difficult time in South Africa’s history”.
He also said “there is no way” he could have refused to have a meeting of that nature with fellow parliamentarians.
Reacting to the news, Magashule accused his fellow NEC member of being a “wedge driver” on a mission to divide the ANC.
“Indeed this charlatan is making his mark through his ownership of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation. Hanekom does not have the capacity to form a new political party, but he has shown remarkable agility in his efforts to divide the ANC.
“Well, we say to him and other EFF sleepers in the ANC, this only makes the members of the NEC, PEC (provincial executive committee), REC (regional executive committee) and branches more determined to unite the ANC and deliver services to the people of South Africa. We will ride this storm of accusations and counter-accusations,” Magashule said in a statement.
Magashule said it was Hanekom “and others” who pressured the speaker of the National Assembly at the time, Baleka Mbete, to approve the EFF’s demand for a vote of no confidence to be held via secret ballot. The secretary general did not reveal who the “others” were.
Hanekom denied the existence of a list of MPs and said: “I think there was kind of an assessment of what we are trying to achieve (ousting Zuma) and is it possible to achieve it though parliamentary means and can we achieve it through parliamentary means. What would be the ANC’s attitude towards it?
“Of course, political parties were discussing how to deal with a particularly difficult time in South Africa’s history … our country was facing a country crisis centred around our then president [Jacob Zuma].
“I think a lot of fuss was made [about] something that is relatively insignificant because most of what was said was known. By the way, I never made it a secret that I had these meetings because there is nothing secret about it.”
Reacting to Hanekom’s statement, Gardee said there were several meetings between the EFF, SACP leader Solly Mapaila and Hanekom, News24 earlier reported.”
I have nothing to say. It is confirmed that there were several meetings with Derek [Hanekom] and Solly Mapaila. It does not matter who initiated it. I can’t give you the juicy part… What is important is that he has confirmed.
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