Oops! Duarte left to clean up mess after staffer’s error gives her Ace’s job

ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte.
Image: ANC via Twitter

ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte has issued an explanation to party members after a letter suggested she had taken over from Ace Magashule.

A letter sent to party structures on Friday was signed by Duarte but she was identified as secretary-general, the position held by Magashule.

Magashule is facing serious charges relating to a R255m tender issued by the Free State government when he was premier.

He appeared in court in Bloemfontein on Friday and there have been calls for him to step aside from his position since a warrant for his arrest was signed on Tuesday.

Magashule’s charges reignited the civil war in the ANC between his “radical economic transformation” faction and supporters of President Cyril Ramaphosa, and Friday’s letter seemed to place Duarte at the centre of it.

The letter was meant to update party structures about new deadlines for member registration and conferences.

In a voice note to members, Duarte said a staff member in her office committed an error by identifying her as the secretary-general and not the deputy.

“Good morning comrades, I am sending you a note which is a bit personal and very hurtful,” Duarte said.

“Yesterday, a staff member in my office sent out a letter with regards to the cut-off date for membership as at the 15th of December, which is a decision of the national working committee.

“He inadvertently at the bottom signed the letter off as Jessie Duarte, secretary-general. You are now sending out, some of you comrades, WhatsApp messages in your chat groups that say I have anointed myself as a secretary-general and I have ramped up a plan and a conspiracy to remove Ace Magashule.

“Firstly, I would never misrepresent myself in this way.”

Duarte said the letter had been withdrawn and the staff member had apologised for the mistake. She expressed concern that despite the withdrawal, some ANC members continued with what she called mischief and driving wedges.

“I appeal to you to stop this, I appeal to you to understand that this was a genuine error on the part of a staff member, who has apologised,” she said.

“It was not a calculated thing to do, as some suggest. That’s very insidious, please my comrades, will you stop this now. Will you believe that we need to unite the ANC.”

by Aphiwe Deklerk

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