South Africa


Ace going nowhere, new ANC step-aside guidelines reveal

Ace going nowhere, new ANC step-aside guidelines reveal
Ace Magashule rides through the streets of Bloemfontein, waving at his supporters, after his appearance in court on charges of corruption and money laundering. Photo:Felix Dlangamandla

Instead, the party’s secretary-general is given supra-authority over the Integrity Commission.

As he makes a bid to become ANC president at its next elective conference, still scheduled for 2022, party secretary-general Ace Magashule will not step aside any time soon.

Magashule has been charged with fraud and corruption related to his term as Free State premier and overseer of the R255-million asbestos roofing contract. According to the party’s 2017 ethics resolution, he should now step aside from his role following a December finding by its Integrity Commission.

But he has hung tough since then and a set of step-aside guidelines, developed by a legal committee, favour him staying in office. The guidelines were first reported by City Press and reveal that Magashule’s office has been given massive power to decide how, when and if members facing charges step aside or not.

The guidelines also dilute the previous authority of the Integrity Commission (the graphic below shows how). Whereas the commission had the power to call members, this appears now to have been taken away. The secretary-general’s office will undertake a 21-day investigation before deciding whether to refer the matter to the integrity body.

And whereas the party’s resolution was clearly framed (any cadre facing an allegation of malfeasance or a criminal charge was to step aside from their position), the guidelines have introduced new steps to make it more complex.

There must be independent sources; the balance of interests of the member accused and the organisation be taken into account; the perception and reputation of the ANC must be taken into account, and the burden of proof is introduced.

Previously, the resolution placed the onus of proof on the courts – now it is with the integrity body. Also, the guidelines introduce new procedures for the commission, which has its own terms of reference and has operated with a degree of independence and at arm’s length from the party.

The guidelines determine that the commission’s reports must be based on “credible evidence” (ruling out media reports, which have been a measure until now), must take account of a member’s acceptable explanation (it doesn’t say who determines what is “acceptable”), and must be issued through the secretary-general’s office. 

Magashule is spitting mad about the commission’s December report, which found that the party’s national executive committee (NEC) should instruct him to step aside. The commission distributed that report to individual members of the NEC instead of funnelling it through his office, so the guidelines ensure that all reports can only go through him in an assertion of control. 

Magashule’s campaign, revealed during his court appearance on 19 February, shows he will not step aside even if instructed to do so. His supporters said on camera he would only stand down if branches tell him to do so. And that court appearance shows that will make a bid for party president. 

This video clip tweeted by Tebogo Khaas is of supporters surrounding Magashule as he takes a ride around Bloemfontein, his stronghold, after his court appearance, standing up through the car’s sunroof. The song is an ANC praise song to “my president”. It’s a clear signal that the rumours of his presidential plan are now out in the open. 

The Integrity Commission is a body of elders which was meant to exercise moral suasion, and a call to what the party calls revolutionary consciousness to guide its cadres’ action.

The new guidelines demand that it undertakes investigations, use legal evidence laws and institute the burden of proof used in court before members are made to step aside.  

It does not have the funding or capacity to do so and could thus be rendered powerless. As Stephen Grootes explains here, the decision by Judge John Hlophe that the case against ANC MP Bongani Bongo had little chance of success has also confounded prospects for the implementation of the step-aside rule.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe did not answer repeated calls for comment. DM


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  • Coen Gous says:

    Once again, Ferial come’s up with an excellent article. All this illustrates how compromised the ANC really is. As I expected when Magashule’s asbestos case was postponed by an incredible 6 months for a pre-trial, he and his allies have moved with speed to entrench his position. That was re-iterated by Bongo, and Pule refusing comment on this article. Ramaphosa is losing the battle within the party at the same speed, with the NPA also moving at a pace equivalent to a snail. Hence his Finance Minister refusing to allocate further funding for the Zondo Commission. Magashule and his allies in the ANC NEC are now holding the ANC, and thus the whole country, by the b…s. Any hope that those corrupt ANC cadres will ever be held to account, including by the courts, is slowly disappearing. This article by Ferial is very depressing, and any hope for a change in political will is also disappearing like the smoke of a fire

  • Karl Sittlinger says:

    Should public interest and the good of all in South Africa not be the main decision factors? Typical ANC…

    • Peter Dexter says:

      Karl, I think it is obvious by now that the ANC have absolutely no intention of governing for the good of South Africa or its citizens. They only represent the party, with a membership of somewhere in the region 1,4 million people, out of approximately 57 million. That’s about 2,5% of South Africans. I know a lot more vote for them, but the only logical reason for that is our collapsing educational system.

      • Geoff Young says:

        I agree and I don’t think its overly dramatic to say that SA is now at a major tipping point. One way is a gradual but ultimately soaring economic success, the other a tragically failed state (without so many talented people in it). There is no third option.

  • Gerhard Pretorius says:

    It appears as if the ANC is establishing its own judiciary alongside those of the country. The organisation certainly has aspirations to be its own law. (Judge Hlope may be a good candidate to head this initiative.) And besides, the ruling party already has its own defence force, so why not go the full monty? Anarchy must become the end result at proportions that will make the old government look like a Sunday school picnic.

  • Sergio CPT says:

    Magashule/zuma and co. (evil psychopaths) pose a very clear, present and mortal danger to this country that if allowed to stand, will be the end of it as we know if it. Its a dagger pointed right at our hearts! It will become a predatory, criminal and thieving all-powerful syndicate, kept in place by draconian laws, fear and violence, if not murder, where the Constitution, the rule of law, free press etc. will be consigned to the dustbin. Impunity, arrogance and unaccountability will be the order of the day and the mafia elite will reduce this country to an utter wasteland through even more rapacious greed and corruption on a grand scale. Nuclear, here we come, which will make the arms deal look like a picnic. The already enfeebled law enforcement agencies will be gutted even further, SARS, the courts will follow etc. In essence, what the odious zuma and his cronies didn’t finish, will be fast-tracked and completed. We already have witnessed this to a large degree, but we ain’t seen nothing yet. That’s how high the stakes are and every right-thinking South African has to stand up and be counted. If we allow this to happen as a nation, we are doomed! We will be joining the other basket cases like Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Cuba etc. where misery, extreme general poverty, hopelessness, bankruptcy (except for the connected) and failure are the order of the day!

  • Michael Tarr says:

    It is so obvious Magashule never had any intention to step aside and shown his middle finger to the Integity Committe (The ANC and the word integrity are as far apart as the north and south pole). He has also done the same to the so called top six and in fact to the whole ANC. Respected analysts have already opined that he will be the next president of the country which would hopefully split the party even further, hopefully giving the chance for the opposition parties to strike back in numbers. For SA under this deplorable man, would sink even lower into a cesspit of corruptuon, making the current politicians look like amateurs

  • Helen Swingler says:

    So, King Rat still holds sway and has the power to determine his own future. It stinks. Who is on this legal committee? What are their allegiances and what are their legal bona fides? Is it Constitutional?

  • Sue Grant-Marshall says:

    Maybe this will finally split the ANC? A smack in the face for Cyril Ramaphosa…who is leading the Party?

  • R S says:

    Who watches the watchmen?

    In short, who gave this power to the secretary general? A “legal” committee? This power grab alone seems enough to potentially cause a split in the ANC.

  • Peter Dexter says:

    Having an “Integrity Commission” within the ANC was always a strange idea because integrity ceased to be part of their value system many years ago. But then giving a veto to the SG is like appointing a serial arsonist as fire chief. This is extremely concerning.

  • Coen Gous says:

    Ferial, Branko, it is absolutely vital that DM increase its readership amongst Black intellectuals, whom could have an profound impact in terms of their influence of Black voters. The free newspaper in P&P is a start, but what about a free sheet newspaper, toned down significantly in terms of the usage of the English language, in 1. Shoprite, and 2. Spar shops. I realise that such a venture will be a very costly exercise, but the end result could be spectacular. DM is by far the most credible on-line medium, but its readership is mainly White retirees, whom has little influence, including myself. South African blacks need a newspaper that do not concentrate on scandals, sport, and celebrity news. Zuma was successful with his ANN7 project, and with Potinger PR exploitation and lies. DM has been the same for as long as I can remember, but our country needs much more. Now, more than ever.

    • William Stucke says:

      This makes sense, Coen. The fundamental political problem in RSA is that the majority of people who vote ANC have little or no idea what shenanigans their leaders, at all levels, get up to.

      Without “dumbing down”, an easily read, short – perhaps a single sheet – paper could make a big difference.

    • Shaik Yusuf Mukuddem says:

      Well said Coen. It’s the only credible medium worth reading. The day Surve took over IOL and destroyed those newspapers, I stopped buying and reading until DM 168 hit the streets. These criminals are absolutely shameless. Heaven forbid if this idiot ever aspires to become President of this country.

  • Stephen Davies says:

    In least suprising news of the year so far: No, Ace Magashula won’t step aside.

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    Gutless anc! Steal from the poor and get rewarded!

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    Maybe now the DM (include News24) and its’ left wing attitude to the DA will think again. All those snide comments are coming home to bite you! And the rest of the country! Sies!

    • Johan Buys says:

      Glyn, the problem is the DA has great policies but those policies are irrelevant as the DA in its present form will never have a chance to try and implement any of the policies. We need a black lower-middle and middle class supported political party with DA policies.

    • Charles Young says:

      Blaming the media for the woes of the DA is a tactic that comes straight out of the RET playbook. If the DA wants to be seen as a credible political force, then it needs to start acting like one.

    • Rodney Weidemann says:

      The DA has done it to themselves, it hasn’t been the media that’s caused its problems. You forget that in SA, perception is the largest part of the battle, and the DA is perceived as a ‘white’ party – and getting rid of all the talented black candidates in the party, tolerating Zille’s ridiculously racist tirades on twitter, to the extent of electing her head of the Federal Council and essentially falling back on the Tony Leon model of whining incessantly about what the ruling party does wrong, rather than pointing out exactly how they themselves would do it better means that this perception will remain among the middle class black voters that are vital if the DA ever hopes to be more than just the opposition.
      It’s not the media that have done this to the DA – the party seems to alternate between shooting itself in the foot and sticking the injured limb in its mouth!
      A genuinely multi-racial, youth-orientated and deeply focused opposition, with well thought out policies on how to revive the economy and create jobs would absolutely cream the ANC at the polls – sadly, that opposition is not the DA.

    • Coen Gous says:

      For heavens sake, if you want to run for a position as a councilar for the DA, then do it! Your continuous promotion of the DA, is becoming extremely boring! Criticising the media is absurd. Your continuous remarks……sies!

  • Johan Buys says:

    State capture is one problem. The ANC branch structure capture is what keeps that problem going.

    When will ANC voters get off their couches and take back their party?

    How many people that still vote ANC take part in the branches that nominate the people that decide how the ANC is run???

  • Coen Gous says:

    Branco, how passionate are you really about your job, or is it merely an exercise to show-off your editorial ability? Is this merely another online news medium, where you strife to be a news medium for White South Africans. Already the biggest news (non TV) medium in SA, News24, went mainly subscriber base, making most of their news articles irrelevant to those that can’t pay R75 a month. Media like yourself will become irrelevant soon, and you may be forced to go YouTube. Despite your sound reporting and investigation skills, I am afraid it has little impact on the broader population, except for the few White readers, like myself, following DM religiously, maybe out of poor frustration.

  • N Another says:

    This is depressing and also extremely concerning. What can we do to help?

  • Sydney Kaye says:

    Dog bites man. Not news.
    Man bites dog. News.
    Ace won’t step down. Not news.
    Ace stepping down. News.

  • Monique Martinez says:


  • Philip Armstrong says:

    Pretty pathetic….let alone discouraging but then again, completely consistent with the ANC’s complete loss of any moral compass or integrity

  • Phil Evans says:

    Ever wondered how SA has allowed Zim to go down the pan? Look no further than the ideological gene pool from which the ANC and ZANU PF were spawned. As with SA’s taxi industry, the real ANC has been allowed to grow into a monster which patriotic South Africans will struggle to control.

  • J LOMBARD says:

    Disheartening. It feels as if we are back in the Zuma era. Then again, maybe we effectively still are in the Zuma era. We placed our hope on a placeholder.

  • Rodney Weidemann says:

    So it’s not so much a case of the ANC making the poacher the gamekeeper, as it is them loading his rifle, adjusting his sights for him and then telling him where all the best animals hang out.
    If the courts don’t find this corrupt thief guilty soon, we are faced with the prospect of him being president of the country – which, in my opinion – will be exponentially worse than Zuma!!

  • stan garrun Garrun says:

    It’s all been said before.. Cyril is a world class leader, Ace is a gangster. Let the split in the ANC take place. South Africans are not stupid, they will make the right choices. This slow erosion of confidence should not continue.

  • Robert Mitchell says:

    Cyril was our last hope! It seems perhaps that he has finally lost the battle. Gangsters unite and evil prevails! Lets just hope they all turn on each other sooner rather than later!

  • Patricia Sidley says:

    I believe the whole integrity committee should resign — all of them — now.

  • William Stucke says:

    I see that DM has now introduced a 300 character limit on comments?

    A pity. I found some of the longer comments very well written and well worth reading.

    After all, DM Insiders reputedly have opinions worth listening to 😉

  • Chris Reed says:

    I find it hard to understand the continued support for Magashule in KZN.
    You recently published a list of failed projects done during his time as Premier. Have these been put to the ANC in KZN for comment, or to the people of KZN? If so, has there been any reply?

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


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