The Citizen (Gauteng)

Ramaphosa shows Ace who’s the boss


Speak softly, but carry a big stick. That aptly summed up last night’s performanc­e by President Cyril Ramaphosa as he took the fight right back to suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule and others in the rebel camp of former president Jacob Zuma. That big stick was the huge momentum of years of history of the ANC, which is almost unstoppabl­e by those who try to push against it. And Ramaphosa wielded it with precision, throwing Magashule into the corner of misfits, cheats and rogues, by saying the suspended secretary-general’s conduct – in writing to Ramaphosa to suspend the president – was a “flagrant violation of the rules, norms and values of the ANC”.

Put another way, Magashule had placed himself beyond the pale. And, in grinding in his advantage – speaking on behalf of the ANC national executive committee (NEC) – Ramaphosa demanded that Magashule make a public apology “to ANC structures and members” within a set timeframe.

Leaving no room for doubt, Ramaphosa said if there was no apology, the ANC will “institute disciplina­ry procedures in accordance with the ANC constituti­on”.

That can only mean one thing: if Magashule persists with his rebellion, he will be booted out of the organisati­on.

Ramaphosa and the organisati­on’s leadership had no alternativ­e. The fight over Magashule and his refusal to accept the party’s instructio­n that he step aside while criminal charges are pending against him, has got nasty. Ramaphosa alluded to that by referring to bitter attacks on Jessie Duarte, Magashule’s deputy, who is now acting in his position – and also to alleged death threats made against other ANC officials.

Ramaphosa’s modulated, calm delivery of what is, effectivel­y, an ultimatum to Magashule and his like-minded rebels, was the very image of a man who believes his cause is the righteous one.

Will Magashule be able to counter that?

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