ANC presidential candidate Mathews Phosa. File picture: Cindy Waxa/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
ANC presidential candidate Mathews Phosa. File picture: Cindy Waxa/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

We must pray that we can end the factions within the ANC, says Mathews Phosa

By Mzilikazi Wa Afrika, Manyane Manyane, Ntombi Nkosi Time of article published May 16, 2021

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by Mzilikazi wa Afrika, Manyane Manyane and Ntombi Nkosi

Johannesburg - The ANC needs prayers for it to regain its former glory as the leader of society. This is according to Struggle veteran and former party treasurer Mathews Phosa – the man tasked with formulating the contentious step-aside rule, which now has ANC factions at each other's throats.

“I am down on my knees, the ANC needs serious prayer,” says Phosa as the battle for the soul of the political party goes down to the wire.

Suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule on Friday filed court papers against the party and its president Cyril Ramaphosa, challenging the constitutionality of the step-aside rule.

But Magashule’s allies are backing him with some of the branches having met in the Free State on Friday to discuss the step aside issue.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe yesterday confirmed that President Cyril Ramaphosa and four other top officials including his deputy David Mabuza, chairperson Gwede Mantashe, deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte and treasurer Paul Mashatile will meet on Monday to discuss Magashule’s court challenge.

“The ANC has noted court papers filed by the suspended secretary-general, Ace Magashule. The ANC will communicate its way forward on Monday following the regular meeting of National Officials,” said Mabe.

Magashule asked the High Court in Johannesburg to set aside his suspension, which was enforced when he refused to step aside within the 30-day period as stipulated by the party's NEC and later endorsed by the National Working Committee.

In his court papers, he also appealed to the court to uphold the suspension he instituted against Ramaphosa, which the party said Magashule had no authority to issue as he was already suspended. He was ordered to apologise to ANC structures, which he has not done.

Magashule said he suspended Ramaphosa as the president of the ANC because he “admitted under oath” that his CR17 campaign received “a minimum of R300 million in order to secure his election into the ANC presidency at the 2017 Nasrec conference.”

Magashule added: “In his (Ramaphosa) case, one is not even only dealing with allegations but with an admission.”

Advocate Vuyani Ngalwana SC, using Twitter handle: Simply Vido @vngalwana, on Friday advised users to read Magashule’s review application.

“Read Magashule's review application to set aside his suspension and confirm Ramaphosa's suspension. Seems compelling, but it's Ramaphosa he's challenging. That changes everything. Incidentally (and I knew it) the letter suspending SG came after the SG had sent a letter to Ramaphosa.”

“The Magashule review application will, in my view, be the litmus test for the South African judiciary. It is not in mainstream media interest (and their owners) to explore that angle. But, in my view, it is. The application is, on its own, compelling,” said Ngalwana.

Phosa on Saturday said the movement would never have peace within its ranks until it has rid itself of the factions that are destroying it from within.

“We must pray that we can end the factions within the ANC. The party also needs some serious cleaning so that we can be a force to be reckoned with again.”

Magashule, in his 128-page court papers, argued that he was being targeted by a faction led by Ramaphosa, which wanted to get rid of him.

He also accused the Ramaphosa-led faction of “altering” an ANC resolution adopted at the party’s 2017 elective conference, and using an “unconstitutional” ANC NEC resolution to target him and those who are advocating for radical economic transformation (RET).

Magashule was elected to the secretary-general position on a Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma ticket. He beat rival Senzo Mchunu, who was contesting on a Ramaphosa ticket, by a slim margin. Ramaphosa also won the vote by a small margin. The conference was said to be split down the middle between Ramaphosa's "reformists" and Dlamini Zuma's "RET forces".

“What the NEC did was to fundamentally alter and amend the Nasrec resolution and not narrow it beyond recognition in order to apply it selectively and to achieve selective factional goals rather than its intended purpose.”

Magashule went on to say the alteration was “unlawfully re-engineered and redesigned and re-purposed by the ANC in the past six months or so, now exempts those hundreds of people and only targets those members who are formally charged with corruption or other serious crimes to step aside pending the finalisation of their cases”.

Further, he said, the resolution was that any member of the party “accused of, or reported to be involved in corrupt activities should, where necessary, step aside until their names are cleared”.

Magashule then added that “an anti-corruption crusade” was used as a “ruse to purge those who are unwanted due ideological or factional differences”.

“Some of the most allegedly corrupt elements in the ANC, who happened to be in the dominant faction, are actively shielded from the necessary scrutiny and ambit of the original resolution and falsely portrayed as fighters of corruption.”

Phosa, who worked alongside Kgalema Motlanthe on the formulation of the step aside resolution, would not be drawn on the merits of Magashule's legal challenge, citing conflict of interests on his part.

“In December, the party asked four lawyers including myself for advice on the step aside rule. Therefore, I am conflicted to make any comment on the matter.”

“I just pray for the end of factions within the ANC”.

Meanwhile, Magashule said he plans to expose how state entities like the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) have been captured to fight political battles.

“By amending the resolution(s) to be limited to those who have been formally charged, the application of the step-aside rule has been mortgaged to the NPA, which is not a structure of the ANC.

“Any faction which manages to capture the leadership of the NPA will therefore never be subjected to the ‘new’ resolution.”

Magashule cited ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe, who is also the minister of mineral resources, and deputy state security minister Zizi Kodwa, as those who are protected by the “new” resolution and enjoy protection from prosecution by the NPA.

Mantashe was accused by a whistle-blower at the Zondo Commission, Angelo Agrizzi, of receiving security upgrades at his homes in Boksburg and the Eastern Cape worth thousands of rands from Bosasa, the same company that also donated R500 000 to Ramaphosa’s ANC election campaign.

Another witness at the Zondo Commission, businessman Edwin Sodi, testified that he paid Kodwa, who used to be ANC spokesperson among other senior roles he occupied in the party, thousands of rands before the deputy minister joined the government.

However, NPA spokesperson Sipho Ngwema yesterday said the prosecution authority wasn’t part of the factional battles within the ANC.

“The NPA executes its mandate without fear or without favour and without influence. We are guided by the Constitution and our values of independence, accountability, professionalism and credibility. We aren't party to any political party activities – the decision to align their internal processes with the normal criminal justice process has nothing to do with the NPA.

“All the cases we have taken to court and the people we have listed on the charge sheet or indictment are backed by the evidence we have uncovered. They have nothing to do with political affiliations, ideology or factional orientation. We act on the credibility of the evidence that substantiates the allegations.”

Sunday Independent

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