The Mercury

ANC gives Magashule ultimatum

- BALDWIN NDABA and ZINTLE MAHLATI

THE ANC yesterday issued a statement in which it served its suspended secretary-general, Ace Magashule, with an ultimatum of disciplina­ry action if he failed to apologise to President Cyril Ramaphosa for penning a “suspension letter” to him.

The party has further confirmed that he would remain suspended until the conclusion of the fraud, corruption and money-laundering trial against him. He is due to make an appearance in the Bloemfonte­in High Court in August for the determinat­ion of a trial date, along with 15 others. One of them is former human settlement­s MEC Olly Mlamleli, who served under Magashule when he was the premier of the Free State.

The drama unfolded on May 3 last week after an ANC national working committee meeting which took a decision to suspend Magashule and former State Security minister and ANC National Executive Committee member Bongani Bongo. They are facing charges of fraud and corruption in the Bloemfonte­in and Nelspruit high courts respective­ly.

Magashule’s suspension letter was signed by deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte. In the letter, Duarte stipulated the conditions to which Magashule was to adhere, or face penalties.

Despite his conditiona­l suspension, Magashule on May 5 wrote a suspension letter to Ramaphosa, saying: “I have also, in accordance with the powers invested in me as the secretary of the ANC, and furthermor­e in full compliance with the relevant conference resolution­s, summarily suspended the president of the ANC, comrade Cyril Ramaphosa.

“This is done in terms of Resolution 8.2 of the 54th National Conference, which states that ‘every cadre accused of, or reported to be involved in, corrupt practices accounts to the Integrity Committee immediatel­y or faces disciplina­ry processes’.”

Detailing the outcome of the NEC meeting, Ramaphosa said Magashule had been ordered to apologise to him or face party disciplina­ry action.

“The NEC discussed the ‘letter of suspension’ written by the secretary-general to the president, for which the secretary-general had no authority or mandate from any structure of the movement.

“The NEC agreed that such conduct was completely unacceptab­le and a flagrant violation of the rules, norms and values of the ANC. The NEC furthermor­e instructed the officials to advise the secretary-general to apologise publicly to ANC structures and members within a set time frame. If he fails to do so, the ANC will institute disciplina­ry procedures in accordance with its constituti­on,” Ramaphosa said.

He also confirmed that Magashule and Bongo remained suspended.

Magashule was not available for comment, while Bongo refused to comment, saying: “I am busy.”

Other provincial officials implicated in corruption, fraud and other serious criminal offences were also ordered to resign from their executive positions.

Commenting on the outcome of the NEC meeting, political analyst Dr Ralph Mathekga said: “At the moment one can say the NEC is resolute on holding Magashule accountabl­e as he has transgress­ed his party’s constituti­on. The fact that he was not sanctioned further was the best he could get. The man (Magashule) suspended the president without even consulting with anyone, to start with. They could have imposed harsher sanctions against him.

“It shows that they have rallied behind the decision to suspend him at the moment. The most important thing is to contain the fire at the branches. If there is success in calling for a special conference, it would almost be tantamount to a successful challenge by Magashule,” Mathekga said.

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