INTEGRITY, INC?

Final Stretch? ANC NEC gives Ace Magashule 30 days to step aside, calls for discipline

By Ferial Haffajee 30 March 2021

Illustrative image | Sources: Felix Dlangamandla | Gallo Images / Alet Pretorius | Adobe Stock

The Radical Economic Transformation faction of the ANC has effectively been banned from organising and faces disciplinary action by the party.

ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule has been given 30 days to step aside from his role or face suspension and disciplinary action by the party.  

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced late on Monday that these 30 days could not be used to review the decision of the Integrity Commission that Magashule must stand down after being charged with 74 counts of corruption and fraud by the National Prosecuting Authority for the squandering of R233-million in an asbestos roof audit in the Free State. 

It is 105 days since the Integrity Commission made its finding in December 2020, and Magashule has dodged stepping aside, arguing that he can only be instructed to do so by a conference of branches that elected him. But the National Executive Committee (NEC) had no truck with his argument, which the reform wing defeated.

“The NEC welcomed the decision by… Magashule to use this time to seek the counsel of past leaders of the movement. The NEC called on all ANC members to rally around this decision and not to engage in any acts of indiscipline, including through mobilisation or public statements that undermine implementation of the conference resolution,” said Ramaphosa.

The party resolved at its 2017 national conference that any representative (elected or employed) who was criminally charged should step aside. The rule has been unevenly applied, and Magashule used this as a battering ram to fight the NEC during the four days of its meeting which began on Friday. The meeting was heated and Magashule’s lieutenants spent all of Monday leaking threats of mass resignations if the NEC pushed him to stand down.  These did not materialise by the time the meeting ended. 

Neither the revised guidelines to provide the process by which members facing criminal charges should step aside nor the original 2017 resolution make provision for a 30-day period of counselling by previous leaders of the ANC.

The NEC was instructed by the Nasrec conference to “summarily suspend people who fail to give an acceptable explanation or to voluntarily step down while they face disciplinary, investigative or prosecutorial procedures”.

Magashule was charged 137 days ago and made his first court appearance in November 2020.

Rankled by the factionalism gripping the party, Ramaphosa also announced an effective ban on the Radical Economic Transformation (RET) faction. 

“The NEC… condemned the establishment of groups operating as an organised faction within the ANC to undermine [the ANC]. The meeting agreed that no ANC member should associate themselves with or be involved in the so-called RET Forces. [The NEC] will not allow any member of the ANC to use the resources and premises of the ANC to hold meetings of the RET or any other faction.”  

Mildred Oliphant, the chairperson of the ANC National Disciplinary Committee, has been instructed to investigate and formulate charges against the RET faction, represented at ANC headquarters Luthuli House by Carl Niehaus, who works in Magashule’s office.  He recently authored a document outlining the RET group’s economic policy positions. 

The NEC again reiterated its support for the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture – as a counterpoint to its former president Jacob Zuma, who has refused to appear before it and issued repeated attacks against the judiciary for orders that he obey summonses to appear. 

“The NEC views its submission [to be made to the Zondo Commission in April] as necessary to the work of the commission and important for the broader effort to confront State Capture,” said Ramaphosa. 

And while the party has effectively banned the RET and the MK Military Veterans Association’s use as a private militia, it has encouraged members to join the Defend our Democracy movement. The movement, launched early this month, has senior ANC veterans in its ranks.  

“The NEC expressed concern at the use of the name Umkhonto we Sizwe to promote factionalism in the ANC. [It] warned against utterances or actions that bring the proud history and notable legacy into disrepute,” said the party in its statement.

It warned that society was increasingly defining the governing party as a “multiplicity of factions pursuing their selfish interests”.  

Ramaphosa looked exhausted as he read the five-page statement. The NEC meeting was long, draining and divided, and Magashule looks set to turn the next 30 days into a battleground of disinformation and lobbying. 

“The NEC noted the re-emergence of an orchestrated campaign of ‘fake news’ directed against President Cyril Ramaphosa and other leaders – akin to the disinformation crusade South Africa experienced during the height of state capture,” the statement said. 

Iqbal Survé’s newspapers have published an ‘exclusive’ claiming that billionaire Johann Rupert had instructed Ramaphosa to get rid of Magashule, and claimed on Monday that Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma had spoken out at the meeting about this. The reports offered no evidence and have been forcefully denied. DM

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All Comments 27

  • We live in hope that finally this might be the turning point that SA needs. No mercy or let up for these most odious, evil and thieving state capturers, their cronies and the RET. As for the equally odious Survé, time he was exposed for the fraud that he is and the law caught up with him.

    • Cannot agree more. IOL garbage press have been the self appointed spreaders of fake news. Not to worry, at the rate it’s going, no serious reader of real news will buy the rubbish put out by them. Already our very own DM 168 is sold out . Or job should be the enlarge the readership base.

    • Wow, about time. CR obviously was waiting for the right time to drop him. Now Iqbal shows how aligned he is to the RET faction and also needs to be taken down. watch out though, there are going to be some horrible stories coming out of the DARK side! (RET).

  • Finally! Domino One about to fall.

    It was high time that we face down the threat from the Zupta camp about how big their support base is. Free t-shirts and KFC does not buy you an army.

  • Social media has been going crazy these last few days with will-they-won’t-they ping pong. By the sounds of things, South Africa won. This is a bold statement by the ANC that has good ramifications for the future. Strengthening private & public sector accountability going forward must the main goal.

  • Here is hoping the ANC self corrects .They must understand that we are all south africans,different views to their s doesn’t mean we are disloyal to the ideal of a better south Africa for all.The implementation must be with zero tolerance for corruption. Together we go forward, divided we fall.

  • 30 days till the next major move. Another tea session at Nkandla? Mildred to formulate charges against RET faction. All good stuff. Lots of conflict still to come but everything is in the open.

  • Another thirty days of idiotic Rhetoric. It is going to be noise and then he will refuse to go. Carl will be like a foghorn. Hopefully Olifant with lay decent charges and shut him up.

  • No more RET? So the next time that excrescence Niehaus needs money he will have to kill his own mother for real and not just fake it. Luckily being a brave indomitable freedom fighter with an AK, that shouldn’t be toooo frightening…..

  • This reminds me of a parenting seminar I once attended. They argued that parents who warn their kids by counting to three before they act, are in fact teaching their children that they have three more counts to disobey. Magashule now has 30. The lines were drawn in 2017 already – act!

  • The only question is why they would give him 30 days. They should not have given him 30 minutes. Surely we’ve learnt from the debacle of JZ that you cannot allow this – They operate outside of the law, and social mores, and the ANC principles, and so seek to remain unaccountable above all else.

  • Sounds sort of good – but ban a faction? How does one do that again? Thirty days to wreak havoc? Survé’s newspapers already spreading fake news that cannot be contained? Is this not more hot air, a ploy of the ANC and Cyril to look like they are doing something when nothing substantial occurs?

  • STATEMENT OF THE ANC NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
    If only it were a letter of intent, as intended, and not, in reality, an incomplete confession of malign incompetence.
    What a powerful inditement of the ANC.
    Sorry for my cynicism.

    • I am not as optimistic as many others here. If the ANCs track record is anything to go by, we should have low expectations…

  • Watch the 30 days become 90 days and then goodness knows how long. This is not a fight between and an honourable faction and a dishourable faction, this is a fight between thugs over who controls the entire criminal turf.

    • This is the only explanation that makes any sense. As we all know, when you reach an important decision you implement it fully and immediately or else it’s just a hopeful plan instead. There is no hesitation to suffocate SA’s fragile economy but giving Ace the boot is clearly not nearly as easy.

  • Hold your horses. Might just be premature optimism. Now, these implicated thieves are being given “30 days to step aside” This is a party which does not have the cOjones to do anything about the industrial scale looting since the dawn of democracy other than talk, consult, talk, promise, blame, deny and at the end of it all….NOTHING HAPPENS. If an ordinary, hard working, tax paying citizen breaks the law he is in IMMEDIATE trouble. These hopeless politicians break the law at will with ZERO consequence!

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