The Star Late Edition
ANC vows action on members who defy party instructions
THE ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) yesterday vowed to come down hard on all its errant members, including its suspended secretarygeneral, Ace Magashule, if he fails to apologise to President Cyril Ramaphosa for penning an unlawful “suspension letter” to him.
Adding to Magashule’s woes, the party has further confirmed that he will remain on suspension 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.
The drama unfolded on May 3 last week following an ANC national working committee meeting which took a decision to suspend Magashule and former State Security minister and ANC NEC member Bongani Bongo. Both are facing criminal charges of fraud and corruption, in the Bloemfontein and Nelspruit high courts respectively.
Magashule’s suspension letter was signed off by his deputy secretary, Jessie Duarte. In the letter, Duarte stipulated all the conditions that Magashule had to adhere to, or face penalties.
Magashule was ordered not to carry out the duties and responsibilities of his office as secretary-general of the ANC.
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.”
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,” said Ramaphosa.
“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 remain suspended. Duarte will take over as secretary-general.
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 with immediate effect.
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 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,” Dr Mathekga said.
Yesterday, the party also vowed to act against some of its NEC members allegedly responsible for leaking audio clips of the NEC meeting on Saturday that exposed the divisions in the party. According to Ramaphosa, the leaks were part of a “concerted and well-resourced campaign to sow division and confusion in the ANC, with the ultimate aim being to destroy the movement as an instrument for progressive transformation”.