Suspension of key ANC officials may work in stopping malfeasance in party - analysts
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Johannesburg - The gloves are off between the ANC and its secretary-general Ace Magashule.
This comes as Magashule has vowed to fight his suspension stating that the decision taken by senior party leaders for him to step aside is “fatally flawed and unconstitutional.”
In a bizarre twist of events, Magashule stated that he was formally suspending the ANC’s President Cyril Ramaphosa.
"I have also, in accordance with the powers vested in me as the Secretary General 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 DC processes....,and Resolution 8.3 that further provides for the suspension of, "... people who fail to give an acceptable explanation, or to voluntarily step down while they face disciplinary, investigative or prosecutorial procedures," Magashule wrote.
He also added: “I herewith announce that I am immediately, and formally, appealing this unconstitutional suspension. In terms of the ANC Constitution, my suspension is thus wholly suspended, until my appeal has been heard, and it's final outcome announced."
Magashule was served with his letter of suspension on Wednesday.
In the letter, deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte stipulated all the conditions which Magashule was supposed to adhere to or face penalties.
Detailing reasons for his suspension letter, Duarte said: “You have been indicted to appear in a court of law on charges of corruption and fraud, alternatively theft and money laundering.”
“On May 3, 2021, the NWC, acting in terms of Rule 25.70 read with Rule 13.8, instructed that letters be written to all the affected members, including yourself, to inform you that it has decided that their temporary suspension would be in the best interest of the organisation.”
“Accordingly, on the authority of the NWC, you are hereby temporarily suspended with effect from 3 May 2021, until the final outcome of your court proceedings,” Duarte said.
But Magashule hit back saying Duarte had no “authority to issue such letters.”
Magashule was not available for comment or to elaborate on the veracity of his letter. His phone was off.
Meanwhile, analysts believe that the latest action by the party to suspend Magashule and others implicated in fraud and corruption is a positive process of assessing its past mistakes of not acting against corruption on time.
“The (ANC) national working committee’s reaffirmation of the NEC decision is aligned with what ANC president (Cyril) Ramaphosa suggested at the Zondo Commission last week when he said that the party was in the process of assessing its past mistakes, which would entail processes of self-introspection to rebuild the ANC,” Kealeboga Maphunye, a Professor of African Studies at Unisa said.
He added: “Hopefully, this would address the party’s past mistakes of allowing unethical governance practices, and failure to act against wrong decisions and actions as South Africa’s governing party."
Expressing a similar opinion that the ANC was on the right track, political analyst Professor Dirk Kotze maintained that the move was aimed at beefing up the powers of the Integrity Committee saying it would likely result in compliance with its decisions.
In an unprecedented move, the ruling party has also barred Magashule from addressing public rallies while serving his suspension.
On Wednesday, the party said that Duarte would take over as acting secretary-general while Magashule and others are expected to report to treasurer-general Paul Mashatile about progress in the criminal case before a decision is taken to review their individual suspension.
However, it is unclear if this will be the case going forward.
Meanwhile, former State Security minister and MP Bongani Bongo also did not respond to calls made to his phone.