File photo: Phill Magakoe

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal on Tuesday took an unprecedented step, announcing that all members charged with serious crimes must step aside from the positions of responsibility in government, pending the conclusion of their legal cases.

On Monday, Newcastle Local Municipality mayor, Dr. Nthuthuko Mahlaba, was remanded in custody after being charged with the 2016 murder of ANC Youth League leader Wandile Ngubeni and the attempted murder of another youth league member.

Mahlaba made his first appearance at the Madadeni Magistrate's Court for his alleged part in the murder of Ngubeni, an ANCYL regional deputy chairperson who was shot dead while with friends three years ago.

The mayor is facing four charges, murder, attempted murder, and two counts of conspiring to commit murder.

On Monday, charges of murder and attempted murder related to ANCYL leader Sindiso Magaqa were provisionally withdrawn against Harry Gwala District Municipality mayor Mluleki Ndobe.

Ndobe is number three on the party’s provincial list and remains on track to represent the party at the provincial legislature.

ANC provincial secretary Mdumeseni Ntuli, addressing the media in Durban, said the decision was inspired by the party’s "commitment and determination to defend and advance the interests of our movement and that of the masses of our people".

“It does not mean an acceptance of guilt and not to cast aspersion on the innocence of the accused members of the African National Congress”.

Ntuli said: “The reputation, integrity and standing of the ANC is far more important than any of its individual leaders”.

Political Bureau