'Ace was vicious' - Former Free State premier Beatrice Marshoff
A relationship of extremes, Beatrice Marshoff and AceMagashule locked horns during her tenure as Free State premier from 2004 to2009, creating a taxing and hostile work environment for Marshoff.
Looking back, however, she still manages a few heartfeltutterances for Ace. "As an individual [he] is very charming, he is a nicewarm person," she says. "But when he interacted with you as thechairperson of the ANC in the Free State,he was vicious."
Marshoff, who has recently been quoted in Pieter-LouisMyburgh's explosive new book GangsterState: Unravelling Ace Magashule's Web of Capture, spoke to News24 aboutthe "challenging yet rewarding" environment she worked in as premierof the Free State and life after politics.
Stepping into office as premier, it didn't take long forMarshoff to realise that she had to constantly be on high alert.
"I gotthe impression I was seen as an opposition member to the ANC. I was undertremendous attacks from my own organisation and there was a constant call forme to be recalled," says Marshoff.
"I never felt helpless, I had a purpose… I sometimesfelt a little intimidated perhaps by the amount of resentment by the ANC in theprovince. Although I had cordial relationships with everybody, at some stagetheir attitudes changed."
"It was very unsettling because you never knew who youwere dealing with, which personality you were dealing with today – is itsomeone who is going to be supportive? Is it someone who is going to attackyou? Is it somebody who is going to whisper somewhere along the way about you? Soyou had to be on your guard all the time."
Despite this, Marshoff says she enjoyed her work and saw thechallenge as something exciting, always asking herself, "what more can Ido?"
Working with Magashule, however, had its own particular setof challenges: "He is a nice, warm person," says Marshoff, "butto function with him at that level was very challenging. You had to be alert atall times, you didn't know what was going to come your way […] You needed toknow how to respond to Ace and how to relate to him."
After a stressful and dramatic term as premier, Marshoffdecided to quit politics in 2009 and a year later went back to her originalprofession of nursing. Two days before she was to be sworn in as a Member ofParliament, Marshoff said she took time out to reflect on her career afterwhich she resigned.
"I thought to myself, I am still young and I still havea contribution to make to society, so I decided to go back to what I know – Iwent back to nursing."
"I am a theatre scrub sister," says Marshoff, "Iworked a few days a week and for a while I worked at Mediclinic in Bloemfonteinand then I retired three years ago."
During Marshoff's retirement, a young journalist approachedher regarding a book he was writing.
Before Marshoff agreed to let Myburgh interview her, she didwhat she always does and spoke to her loved ones. She took time to contemplateadding her voice to Gangster State. Nowthat the book is out, Marshoff says her family is still supportive but cautiousfor her safety.
"I am not in the Free State, I don't know what wouldhappen if I go back to visit – if the attitudes of the people in the provincewould have changed. But I've had a lot of positive feedback from people."
Marshoff says she is in the midst of reading Myburgh's bookand has appealed to those opposing the book to read it first. "I thinkpeople are emotional. Read the book first and interpret what is in there andthen decide whether you like it or not. To go to the extent to threaten abonfire, I think that is a bit immature and wrong."
"I think this is a book we should all read. It issomething that tells us a lot of things and it is something we can learn from."