Ace Magashule’s legal team went for the jugular in court yesterday, with his lead counsel, advocate Dali Mpofu,
accusing President Cyril Ramaphosa outright of corruption.
The High Court in Johannesburg yesterday heard an application from the embattled ANC secretary-general for leave to appeal against its dismissal of his challenge to his current suspension.
If successful, Magashule’s lawyers intend lodging an application to bring new evidence in the appellate court.
And Mpofu on Wednesday explained how this included Ramaphosa’s recent testimony at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.
Mpofu described the judgment handed down as having been “premised on the acceptance of the theory that the ANC was motivated by some anticorruption crusade and evangelism” when it suspended Magashule in May, over the criminal charges he’s facing in connection with the R255-million Free State asbestos removal saga.
“Which is completely not the case,” he argued. “On our version, the suspension was motivated by
nothing other than factionalism”.
And he argued they wanted to use Ramaphosa’s testimony at the commission to demonstrate that “he himself is guilty of corruption”.
Magashule also attempted to suspend the party president in May, but the move was rubbished as being of no consequence by the ANC and Magashule was asked to apologise.
He is, however, also challenging this through the courts.
“According to that evidence, he said he was aware of corruption for four years,” Mpofu said yesterday of the testimony Ramaphosa who served as jailed former president Jacob Zuma’s deputy for four years gave at the commission.
The president’s legal team didn’t take kindly to the charge. Advocate Wim Trengove who is also representing acting secretary-general Jessie Duarte and the ANC in the case said the move to introduce these points was part of “a scandalous attempt” to “malign” his clients.
He argued Mpofu had “absolutely no evidence” to back up his accusation and Magashule and his legal team were trying to use the courts as “a springboard for scurrilous insults to the president and the respondents, without any foundation, in fact, at all”.
Mpofu wasn’t budging, though.
“If he [the president] feels insulted, he insulted himself because he said he was aware of corruption for four years and he did nothing. That is a crime.”
Trengove yesterday argued for a costs order against Magashule. In support of this, Trengove cited the “insults” against his clients and another line of argument Magashule has taken, accusing the bench which heard his case of bias real or perceived.
Mpofu said during arguments it seemed the court “by any means, was just determined to find in favour of Mr Ramaphosa and the other respondents, no matter what”.
But Trengove described these contentions as a “curious and unfounded attack on the bench”.
“Which we submit is scandalous and for which there was justification at all,” he said. Judgment was reserved.
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