ANC veterans accused Ace Magashule of racism over remarks he made during a campaign trail, but he has, in turn, slammed the veterans.
Magashule appeared unfazed after African National Congress (ANC) stalwarts called him a racist leader for comments he made in the Western Cape. Magashule was addressing the residents of Phillipi township in Cape Town over the past weekend and told them never to vote for a white person, before he promised them that the ANC would reclaim the province.
“Don’t ever vote for a umlungu (white person), a white person will never change the lives of black people, they have oppressed us,” he said.
The statement has since earned him backlash from party veterans, who said they would be reporting Magashule to the integrity commission as his remarks were “unacceptable”. The statement was signed by party veterans Mavuso Msimang, Barbara Masekela, Murphy Morobe, Popo Molefe, Ilse Fischer, Ata Mkhwanazi, Trish Hanekom, Omry Makgoale, Ivan Pillay, Laurentia Richer, Cas Coovadia, Sagie Pillay, Peter Richer, Mary Metcalfe, Sheila Sisulu, Tim Wilson, Catherine Hunter Shubane, Aslam Dasoo and Lentswe Mokgatle.
The elders said the comments made by Magashule were not in accordance with the Constitution or their party, which they believed to be a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic liberation movement.
“The utterances by someone occupying the office of secretary-general, exhorting 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,” they said.
Through his spokesperson Mbali Hlophe, Magashule brushed off the criticism and denied any wrongdoing, claiming that his comments were taken out of context.
“Why is the 101 Veterans coming out now when these terms have been used before? President Cyril Ramaphosa has made a similar comment. There is nothing wrong with what Mr Magashule said, there is context which needs to be understood,” said Hlophe.
Magashule referred to statements that were made by Ramaphosa in 2014 and said his comments were about speaking against whiteness, not necessarily advocating hate for white people.
“When we were in the Western Cape, the people were saying white people are causing them to suffer. Simply put, they were speaking about the ill-treatment that they are receiving from the DA.
“That was the context, and when he was addressing the community, there is no terminology in any vernacular language on whiteness, except for distinguishing ‘abelungu’ and ‘amabhunu’,” said Hlophe.