ANC ready to face off with Ace Magashule in high court, says Jessie Duarte
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Johannesburg - The ANC’s top brass is closing in on alleged acts of ill-discipline within its ranks and their arrows are aimed at suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule and fellow senior leader Tony Yengeni.
This comes amid their stance of rebuking some of the party's leaders on public forums.
Now, the party has 60 days to institute disciplinary action against Magashule, Yengeni and UMKhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans’ Association (MKMVA) spokesperson Carl Niehaus.
The three may face charges of making disparaging remarks against some of the party leaders during former president Jacob Zuma’s court appearance last week.
The announcement of intent to lay charges happened on Tuesday night, on the eve of Zuma’s appearance again today in the Pietermaritzburg High Court charged with multiple counts of fraud, corruption and money laundering.
All three of them last week vowed they would come to the high court again on Wednesday to support Zuma.
Magashule even told hundreds of ANC supporters he would bring bus loads of people from the Free State province to come and support Zuma.
But ANC acting secretary-general Jessie Duarte - who announced the party’s national working committee’s (NWC) decision to consider disciplinary action against the three - on Monday told the media Magashule had rescinded his “intentions”.
“I spoke to the secretary-general yesterday (Monday) and he told me he will no longer be doing it. He said it was due to Covid-19 considerations,” Duarte revealed.
Despite that, Duarte was adamant about the NWC’s decision to act against them for their utterances outside the Pietermaritzburg High Court on May 17.
Magashule and Yengeni dared the ANC to act against them after they individually vowed to protest against the party’s decision to place Magashule under suspension after charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering were served against him in November last year.
On May 3, the ruling party served Magashule with a notice of suspension and ordered him not to address any ANC rallies or any other gathering using the party’s name.
But during Zuma’s court appearance, Magashule openly defied his party and vowed that nobody will “expel him from the ANC.”
Yengeni also echoed the same sentiments and accused some ANC leaders of using state resources to lay criminal charges against their opponents within the ANC.
Now, all three are due to face the music for their alleged defiance.
Without mentioning their names, Duarte said the party’s national working committee “condemned the unbecoming, divisive and defiant behaviour of cdes secretary-general Magashule, Tony Yengeni and Carl Niehaus during the recent court appearance of former president Jacob Zuma.”
Their names were contained in the statement but she chose not to mention them.
She further said: “The NWC instructed the national presenter to look into these breaches of discipline and to investigate charges in line with the ANC constitution and code of conduct.”
According to Duarte, the national presenter - who is already appointed - has about 60 days to gather and establish grounds for the prosecution of the three. The presenter will have to table his report before the party’s national executive committee for a decision to refer the matter to the National Disciplinary Committee (NDC).
She also revealed they are ready to go toe-to-toe with Magashule in the South Gauteng High Court in Joburg where he is challenging his suspension.
Duarte said they filed their answering affidavits on Tuesday and were ready for the hearing due on Tuesday next week.
In his court papers, Magashule said his removal from office was aimed at ensuring the CR-17 faction which supports President Cyril Ramaphosa re-elects him as party president at its next elective conference in December 2022.
Magashule and Yengeni could not be reached for comment.