Is Ace Magashule playing with a full deck?

David Bullard asks why it took so long for the ANC to defenestrate its dodgy SG


Is Ace Magashule playing with a full deck? This was the question on so many people’s lips last week as he announced that he had suspended Cyril Ramaphosa from the Presidency of the ANC and therefore the Presidency of the country.

This came swiftly after Jessie Duarte had dropped Ace a note telling him that he was suspended from the ANC and could no longer claim to speak on behalf of the party or represent it any way until criminal charges against him were disproven. ___STEADY_PAYWALL___

It wasn’t as if Magashule wasn’t given several opportunities to go quietly. He was arrested last November on 21 counts of fraud, corruption and money laundering and is currently free on R200 000 bail. That alone should have prompted the President to move swiftly and get rid of him if he didn’t voluntarily quit. But as always dithering ruled the day and the can was kicked down the road as usual.

Heaven knows, the evidence against him seems overwhelming and there’s probably plenty more where that came from. But Ace was having none of it and could see no reason to quit the position of Secretary-General just because of a multi-million rand criminal charge against him. So he stubbornly hung on aided and abetted by fellow crooks like Tony Yengeni and camouflage clown Carl Niehaus and zapped the middle finger to the ANC and the rest of South Africa.

Finally, the ANC decided they had enough and booted him last week but what took them so long?

The most extraordinary thing to understand is that a dodgy character like Magashule could ever rise to the rank of Secretary General. There were already doubts about his probity when he was appointed S-G in December 2017 with rumours of family Gupta links, strange tenders and large amounts of money moving in unusual directions.

Surely at this point the ANC high command should have asked themselves if this was the right man for the job. Instead of which they defended their choice and, predictably, accused those who questioned Magashule’s credentials of either being racist or anti-ANC.

The problem now is what does Pres Ramaphosa do with all the other dodgy members of his party who are likely to be facing the prospect of wearing orange overalls at some future date? Does he also suspend them from the party ahead of local elections or would that be seen as political suicide?

Can he trust them to step aside until they are cleared of any wrongdoing? Obviously not because the culture of the ANC has always been to lie and deny and hang on for as long as possible while continuing to crook the system.

What should have happened long ago is what would have happened to any non-politically-connected citizen arrested on suspicion of committing a serious crime.

They would be arrested and held in police cells pending an appearance in court. What long suffering South Africans urgently need is to see swift justice in action. We need to see dodgy politicians and corrupt cadres do what the Americans call the ‘perp walk’. We need more ANC supported naming and shaming and we need to see more evidence of the mighty having fallen and being stripped of their ill gotten gains.

Confidence in the ANC is now so low that only a massive internal clean up is going to convince voters and the international community that underneath all the rot there are still some decent members of the party. Magashule’s suspension is a sign things might finally be moving in the right direction.


On the day after my lavish 60th birthday lunch at Tokara Restaurant my wife and I decided to visit the magnificent Vergelegen Estate in Somerset West. It was a Monday and the whole point of visiting Vergelegen on that day is that pensioners are allowed in free. On other days it costs all of R5 to enjoy the magnificent gardens and walks on the estate in addition to the restaurants.

So we arrived at the security boom and I identified myself as a newbie pensioner which, to my great disappointment, the security guard didn’t dispute. Hurrah I thought as we drove in, there are some advantages to getting old.

Since then I’ve become pretty sharp at identifying the many benefits of wrinkliedom. For example, Builders Warehouse give a handsome 10% discount to the elderly on a Wednesday and I’ve often thought of buying up their entire stock of chainsaws and advertising them at a 5% discount on Gumtree.

Then there are the restaurants that offer special deals for the elderly such as order one main course and get the second at half price. I get a special price on the TV license and if I had bothered to renew my post box this year I also had a special pensioner offer on that. The problem was that pensioners had to turn up and pay in person rather than pay online and there were very long queues of people collecting welfare payments at the time so I let the post box rental lapse.

Considering the post office is one of our many hollowed out, non functioning state owned enterprises this is unlikely to pose a problem because nobody in their right mind would trust the Post Office to deliver anything these days.

Last week we had some fairly wet weather in our part of the world and I decided to park in the elderly person’s parking at my local shopping mall. There are two sets of reserved parking; one is for the disabled and is clearly marked as such and the other is for Mum’s with kids and the elderly.

The Mum with kids sign is represented by a push-chair and the elderly sign by two stooped figures (one clearly female and the other clearly male) both hobbling along on walking sticks.

I had just parked the car and got out when a security guard approached me and told me I couldn’t park there because it was reserved for the elderly. I asked him how he defined elderly and told him that I qualified by quite a few years. He was polite but insistent though.

To qualify for the elderly parking you have to walk with a walking stick and be stooped. I pointed out that anybody that decrepit shouldn’t even be driving but he stuck to his guns.

Since the punishment for illegal parking in an elderly or disabled bay is a wheel clamping and a R250 release fee I have realized that I need to up my game if I want to continue to exercise my democratic right to self identify as elderly and park in a reserved bay.

After all, I didn’t pay tax for my entire working life to be deprived of such basic human rights. I now have a specially baggy pair of shopping trousers with a convincing damp stain in the crotch, I’ve managed to get hold of a walking stick from a charity shop and I start dribbling as soon as I get out of the car. And I certainly won’t be taking the Porsche on any future shopping trips.