Magashule responds to 'umlungu' comment criticism: 'I did nothing wrong'

ANC veterans are calling it 'racist' and 'completely unacceptable'

Magashule responds to 'umlungu' comment criticism: 'I did nothing wrong'

15 April 2019

"There is nothing wrong with my statements."

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule has defended his recent comments to voters in Philippi, that they should not "waste" their votes "on the white man again".

Magashule made the remarks while on the campaign trail in the Western Cape over the weekend.

The message has drawn criticism from within the ruling party and a group of ANC veterans are calling it "racist" and "completely unacceptable".

A group of 19 veteran party members, including Mavuso Msimang, Popo Molefe, Mary Metcalfe and Cas Coovadia, issued a statement in response to the utterances on Sunday.

"The disgraceful appeal to masses of poor black people not to vote for 'umlungu', are utterly alien to the core principles and character of the ANC and its mission to build a nation free of prejudice, poverty and exploitation," the statement read.

Speaking on Monday, Magashule insisted his comments were not racist.

"I have explained that the ANC is a non-racial organisation. There are white progressive democrats who have been voting for the ANC who will continue voting for the ANC. There are many white South Africans who will still vote for the ANC but our main hope is the black vote and there is nothing wrong to say the DA does represent the white interest. It does represent the elite and the privileged," he said.

Magashule added that he also saw nothing wrong with his offer of R400 to a family of ANC supporters during the campaigning over the weekend.

"I don't know what is wrong when I find somebody hungry who is a supporter, a veteran and he says to us there is no food in the house. I don't know whether that is breaking the electoral code," he said.

The DA wrote a letter of complaint to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), claiming that Magashule had breached the electoral code of conduct and was in essence buying votes.

Meanwhile, the ANC's top brass has cancelled a scheduled meeting with the integrity commission to discuss its report on candidates on the party's parliamentary and provincial legislature lists.

The commission was charged with reviewing the lists and rooting out those who have brought the party into disrepute.

The commission chairperson George Mashamba earlier told News24 that the commission had concluded its report and handed the document over to the ANC top six. Some of the names the commission red-flagged, included deputy president David Mabuza and chairperson Gwede Mantashe.

The party, however, has ducked questions about whether it will uphold the recommendations by the commission.

This, despite earlier insistence that the commission's findings would be binding.