Ramaphosa ducks question on whether Magashule will resign
PARLIAMENT - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday sidestepped an opposition question in the National Assembly as to whether ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule will step down from his position as he prepares to face criminal charges.
"The issue of the leaders of the ANC is being handled by the African National Congress," Ramaphosa said.
He was replying to a supplementary question from opposition leader John Steenhuisen as to why, if he was serious about fighting graft, Magashule has not resigned as secretary-general and there was still a question in the name of former minister Bongani Bongo on the day's question paper.
"The ANC through its own processes is dealing with these matters," Ramaphosa continued.
"Let us wait for all these processes to unfold and in time these matters will be addressed and everybody will get to know how the ANC is addressing those matters."
He added that he was answering questions from MPs as president of the country, not in his other capacity as head of the ruling party.
"Those matters that Mr Steenhuisen are raising are germane to the ANC, which I have said is dealing with the matter."
The Hawks on Tuesday confirmed that a warrant of arrest had been issued for Magashule in relation to the Free State asbestos scandal.
Magashule has through his lawyers agreed to appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court, but he has so far disappointed those who may have hoped that the long-awaited charges would see him readily relinquish his leadership role within the ANC.
Doing so would be in line with both the ANC's constitution and a recent injunction by Ramaphosa to senior officials to step aside from their positions while they answer serious charges.
Instead, according to a statement issued on Wednesday by ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte, Magashule at a meeting of the party's top six agreed to subject himself to the legal process and called on his supporters to refrain from rallying to his cause in a factional manner.
The statement went as far as citing him as asking supporters not to proclaim their allegiance on T-shirts or placards as he heads to court.